Are you looking to build out your existing home gym?
Perhaps you have no fitness equipment at home and you like the idea of investing in some machinery to help you with some low-impact cardio?
If so, a treadmill gives you enormous scope for cardiovascular workouts without any of the jarring impact you’d get if you were running on concrete.
The Bowflex BXT216 is a heavier-duty version of the entry-level BXT116 from the mighty Nautilus stable. You’ll get extra deck cushioning, improved weight capacity, and extra programs punched in. You’ll also enjoy access to Bowflex’s proprietary JRNY coaching tech in this powerful home treadmill that wouldn’t be out of place in a commercial gym.
With today’s Bowflex BXT216 treadmill review, we’ll be exploring how this unit stacks up so you can more readily find the best equipment for your needs. In all our in-depth treadmill reviews, we follow the same format so you can readily compare them like-for-like.
Let’s kick off with a snapshot of this unit’s main specs.
|Dimensions||84.5 x 38.5 x 54.7 inches|
|Speed||0 to 12 mph|
|Incline||0% to 15% (digital)|
|Product Weight||304 pounds|
|Maximum User Weight||400 pounds|
|Tread Belt||22 x 60 inches|
|Warranty (Frame)||15 years|
|Warranty (Motor)||5 years|
|Warranty (Parts and Labor)||2 years|
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The Bowflex BXT216 comes with a highly efficient and extremely powerful motor rated at 4 CHP (continuous horsepower). Although this treadmill is not specifically marketed as a commercial-grade machine, performance wouldn’t be out of place in a gym.
Despite giving you all the power you need for a brutal cardio session, this machine runs pretty quietly in operation. The loudest element will be your brand new running shoes slapping against the rubber track.
Like all Bowflex equipment, you get precision engineering married to enviable build quality. Built by Nautilus Inc., Bowflex gear has always been innovative since debut products offering a new approach with polymer rods for tension.
As you’ll see when we round out this buying guide, Bowflex stands behind its products fully with a class-leading guarantee.
What’s up next on the BXT216, then?
Well, it’s all about that screen.
You’ll get a fully backlit color LCD measuring 9 inches across. This gives you a screen roughly the size of the average tablet so you can see everything you need at a glance.
When you first clap eyes on this treadmill, you might find the number of buttons confusing. We’d suggest you take a few minutes to explore the Bowflex BXT216 manual so you’re fully familiar with controls before you fire up for your first workout.
This console is compatible with Bowflex JRNY if you’re looking for interactive training. You’ll need a subscription, and there’s no free trial included here. If you have long-term fitness goals and you need a helping hand staying on track, JRNY might be worth the investment. You can then get even more out of your treadmill through guided virtual workouts in immersive real-world environments even if you can’t get outside much right now.
The Bowflex allows you to hit 12 mph at full clip, more than enough for most regular training purposes.
The preset programs will include all the speed adjustments you need, as will the guided workouts. If you’re choosing to operate the treadmill in manual mode, choose the speed yourself with ease.
An incline of up to 15% puts the BXT216 ahead of the opposition if you want a more intense workout when it’s too cold to get outside for some hill action.
The Bowflex JRNY experience is a subscription-based model that may be worth exploring if you need assistance charting and maintaining your fitness goals.
Think of this interactive virtual workout platform as an introduction to personal training without the stiff price tag.
Enjoy customized daily workouts with all the personalized feedback you need to take things to the next level.
There’s no right or wrong answer as to whether you would find this subscription beneficial. See how you feel and invest accordingly.
Maximum load-bearing capacity is a whopping 400 pounds which covers most users looking for a low-impact alternative to running outdoors on hard surfaces.
Any remaining impact is nicely cushioned by the oversized belt. This is the largest in its class and provides you with a substantial running area 60 inches long and 22 inches across. That’s a clear 2 inches wider than most of the competition.
You can fold this treadmill to streamline storage. The sheer bulk and weight of the thing means you won’t want to be shifting it around to often, though. It weighs over 300 pounds.
The Bowflex guarantee is robust and inspires you with complete confidence at the point of purchase.
The frame is covered for 15 years, and there’s no reason to ever expect any issues with the chassis. It’s rock solid and built to stay the distance.
The motors is guaranteed for 5 years giving you total peace of mind. The 4 CHP powerhouse shouldn’t cause any problems and you can expect years of faithful service.
All mechanical parts and labor are backed by a 2-year warranty.
So, the warranty is commendable across the board, and all this is backed up by first-rate customer care. What’s not to love?
III. Performance and Workouts
All you’ll need to use this treadmill is some decent running shoes, and a thick pair of socks so you don’t get blisters.
When you’re performing any kind of cardio, make sure you stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water within easy reach, and make sure you drink as you run.
Before you even think about clambering aboard the Bowflex belt, we’d advise spending some time with the manual. Although the treadmill is pretty user-friendly, there’s so much to get to grips with in terms of control that you’re better off familiarizing yourself with the instructions first.
You should always spend at least 5 minutes warming up for your cardio session to avoid pulling a muscle or otherwise injuring yourself. As you increase your heart rate, so the oxygen will pump more powerfully around your body. Prime yourself up slowly before aiming for that maximum fat burning rate of 70% maximum heart rate.
Now, if you’ve never used a treadmill before, here are a few simple pointers to help you get off the mark safely and easily.
- Only use the handrail for mounting and dismounting: While you might glance at the handrails and think of them as supports, you should not hold these except to steady yourself getting on or off the treadmill. Run just like you would naturally outside if you’re looking to get the most out of this equipment
- Pay proper attention to form: One of the drawbacks of running outside is the sheer volume of distractions, and the way this sensory overload can take your mind off proper form. Running indoors on a treadmill gives you the opportunity to focus fully on form. Keep your posture upright and look straight ahead. Resist the temptation to obsess over the console and keep those eyes mainly front and center
- If you’re using a treadmill for weight loss, record measurements weekly: If you’re hoping to use a treadmill as part of a weight loss plan, consider weighing yourself and charting other key fitness metrics weekly rather than daily. Don’t get hung up on this tiny daily fluctuations, and instead look at the bigger picture
- HIIT on a treadmill can be highly effective: If you have never tried high-intensity interval training, commonly abbreviated to HIIT, give it a go on your Bowflex treadmill. HIIT intersperses period of intense activity with periods of rest. Overall, you’ll burn more calories this way than through a regular cardio session
- Always cool down: As mentioned above, never skip warming up. If you don’t have time to warm up, you don’t have time for your cardio session. Ignoring this advice is a short cut to injury. Equally, you shouldn’t abruptly stop after running full tilt. Instead, dial back to a jog and then a fast walk so you bring your heart rate back down less abruptly.
IV. Tips for Usage and Maintenance
Maintaining the Bowflex BXT216 is a cinch.
Always unplug the power cord and wait 5 minutes as a precautionary measure.
You should wipe the treadmill down after every use. If dirt, debris, and salt accumulate in the belt, you may need to use some mild soap and hot water to get rid of it.
If the belt starts slipping at any stage, you can make simple adjustments to this with a 6mm hex wrench.
Occasionally vacuum in and around the treadmill. That should be the extent of your routine maintenance.
Warming up and warming down before your treadmill sessions is just as important as familiarizing yourself with the controls.
If you’re stuck for ideas, take full advantage of the 11 presets onboard. You could also refer to the comprehensive section in the user manual outlining a range of workout programs and ideas for getting the most out of your treadmill.
To tail off, here’s a curated list of answers to the most commonly asked questions about treadmills.
1) Is it worth using a treadmill?
Absolutely. With a treadmill, you can train day in and day out, whatever the weather. Using a treadmill at home also allows you to snatch a quick session where you wouldn’t have time to head to the gym. For running fans, treadmills offer a low-impact alternative to pounding the pavement. Rather than jarring your bones, embrace that rubber belt instead. The variety of cardio routines you can perform is also much greater than the variety you could achieve by simply running outdoors. Alongside all these benefits, you’ll also find that the one-off investment you make in a treadmill will save you a great deal over time compared to the recurring monthly cost of a gym membership. Take social distancing to the nth degree and stay at home rather than heading to the gym at all.
2) How can I make my workout more challenging on a treadmill?
The 15% incline on the Bowflex gives you the chance to run up a steeper slope than you could on most competing treadmills. 12% is the norm. You could also consider HIIT workouts if you want even more intensity and calorie-burn from your cardio sessions.
3) Is Bowflex a reputable brand?
Absolutely. Bowflex is a standalone brand from the stellar Nautilus Inc. stable. You’ll get all the brand heritage you’d expect from a fitness titan. Bowflex gear is well-built, performs strongly across the board, and is sure to stay the distance. If you’re shopping treadmills for the first time, anything manufactured by Bowflex is worth a look.
You need a machine that’s heavy-duty enough not to let you down, but compact enough for you to accommodate. If you don’t have a dedicated home gym, or you live in a smaller property, you might benefit from folding gear like this Bowflex treadmill.
When it comes to treadmills, functionality varies as much as price. To make your life easier, we’re just starting this series of detailed treadmill reviews so you can check out how these machines stack up.
Before you go, we’d suggest bookmarking our blog. We’ve got a busy content calendar in place in the lead-up to Christmas, so be sure to pop back soon. Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or you want some great gift ideas, we’ve got you covered and we’ll see you soon!