These are both the top-of-the-line-models in their respective series – with all the bells and whistles included.
They’re also the toughest, strongest models, making them a great choice for multiple-user families or those who plan on heavy and frequent exercise (or for those who just want the best of the best).
So how are they different? And which is best for you?
This post will point out a few of the main differences between these two machines to help you decide:
Nordictrack Freestride Trainer FS9i Vs Bowflex Max M7
The Bowflex Max M7 comes in slightly cheaper than the FS9i Freestrider. You can get it around $2199 (with a coupon for Free Shipping) here. The Nordictrack FS9i usually runs around $2999 direct from the Manufacture here.
To be fair, since the Nordictrack FS9i is more expensive it should (in theory anyways) give you more options.
#2 Workout Movement
A lot of people may not realize that there is a big differences in the actual exercise movement that you do with each machine.
For example, you’re more limited with the Max Trainer M7 as the movement is just up and down – like a stair climber/elliptical hybrid with elliptical arms.
With the Freestrider Trainer FS9i you can run forward or backwards. You can also vary your stride infinitely (as you choose your own stride based on how much pressure you place on the footpedals). So you can do short, stair-stepping strides (much like the Bowflex Max), longer running strides or even longer hurdling type strides.
The benefit to this is that your body never gets the chance to adapt to one set movement. So it’s always challenged and burning calories at the maximum level.
Also, if you tend to get bored easily with workouts, then the different options with the FS9i is also a huge plus.
To be fair you do get the high intensity interval training workouts (see below) with the Bowflex Max – and that will definitely keep you challenged as well. But it really comes down to what you want.
While the Bowflex Max M7 has the most advanced and functional console of the Max Trainer group, the Nordictrack Freestride FS9i definitely outshines it here.
While the Max M7 Console has the enhanced dual mode display with Bluetooth capability, it’s still really limited when compared to the FS9i console. Here’s the M7 Console:
And here’s the Freestride Trainer FS9i Console:
So as you can see, although the Max Trainer M7 has the two feedback windows and easy-to-reach controls, the FS9i gives you full-color, touch-screen console with web browser. So you can surf the net from your console as you workout – again something that is great if you tend to want distraction while working out.
Plus, if you add in iFit LIVE (not necessary but some people really like it), you’ll get to watch actual landmarks pass you by in the console screen as you run different world trails – very virtual reality.
There’s also a way to change your resistance and incline from the moving arm bars that you don’t get with the Max Trainer M7.
#4 Resistance Levels
The resistance levels let you add some challenge to your workouts and burn more calories overall. The Freestrider FS9i gives you 26 levels of resistance. The Max Trainer M7 gives you 20 levels of resistance.
However having said that, I don’t think that the resistance levels on the Max Trainer are your standard elliptical resistance levels. I tried the Max Trainer (M5) at a friends house a few months ago and it was H-A-R-D work. So I think both machines can be equally challenging in their own ways.
#5 Online Tracking
The Max Trainer M7 does outshine the M5 and M3 with the Bluetooth tracking capability. And it’s almost “intelligent” in that it tracks your workouts with the Performance Targetted Programming. As you train, the M7 actually learns about your fitness level. It then sets new targets to push you further than the last time.
With the Bluetooth tracking you can track and monitor your progress with the Max Trainer app. It also syncs with other popular fitness apps as well like googlefit and myfitnesspal. Not bad right?
The Nordictrack FS9i has its own online tracking option called iFit LIVE. With iFit you can monitor, graph and watch your workouts over time, set new goals, etc.
You can also do some fun extra stuff too – like download countless new workouts, including some where Jillian Michaels coaches you through the console speakers.
You can also add some virtual reality fun by running famous trails – from Paris to Hawaii – and watching the actual terrain pass you by in the console window, very cool. However keep in mind that iFit LIVE will also run you about $99 a year.
So while iFit is definitely a lot better than the tracking app on the Max Trainer M7 it’s also more expensive. (Again, you don’t need iFit to use the Freestride trainer or the web browser in the console – it’s something you can add on later if you choose).
There’s yet another option with the Freestride trainer that you don’t get with the Max Trainer M7 – decline and incline.
So you can change the slope of your elliptical path with this option, which again, changes up the workout routine and can help you burn more calories by working different muscle groups.
#7 User Profiles
The Max Trainer M7 does have 4 different user profiles (it saves the information for 4 different people so you don’t have to re-enter it every time you start a workout). It uses this information to give you more accurate feedback on your workout calories burned, etc.
The Freestrider FS9i does not come with different user profiles.
#8 High Intensity Training Workout
Part of the secret of the success of the Bowflex Max Trainer is that it’s built with a specialized high-intensity training workout. This workout is designed to get you burning maximum calories in minimum time (and even post-workout).
That’s why they can boast that you get results in just 14 minutes a day (and who doesn’t love a shorter workout?)
The M7 does have this special program to help you get burning calories and losing weight very quickly. In fact it has a 7 minute, 14 minute and even a 21 minute interval workout built into the console.
The Freestride Trainer FS9i, while it does come with lots of built-in workouts, including weight loss workouts, does not carry a similar program built into the console.
#9 Weight Capacity
The Max Trainer M7, while it’s pretty solid and can take higher weights than other Max Trainers, still has a user weight capacity of 300 pounds.
The Nordictrack FS9i has a heavier weight capacity of 400 pounds. So it can stand up to a bit more pounding.
While the Max Trainer M7 does have the longest warranty protection of any Max Trainer model – 3 years, you do get a better warranty with the Nordictrack FS9i.
The Freestride trainer comes with a lifetime frame warranty, a 5-year parts warranty, and a 2-year labor warranty – basically this is Nordictrack’s best warranty available, which tells you something about the quality of construction.
Bottom Line on the Nordictrack Freestride Trainer FS9i vs Bowflex Max Trainer M7:
So those are the main differences between the Nordictrack Freestride Trainer FS9i vs Bowflex Max Trainer M7.
Which is best for you? Well, the FS9i gives you more exercise flexibility and more training options. You get a lot more movement options – forward and back, incline and decline, multiple strides to choose from,etc. You also get a lot more entertainment options (web browser, iFit, iPod dock with speakers, etc.)
The Max Trainer M7 is designed for maximum calorie burning in minimum time and will definitely challenge your fitness level to the max (pun intended).
It’s also very compact and gives you a tracking capability that syncs with popular apps. So at the end of the day it really comes down to what you want.
Want to learn more about each one?