Shin Ohtake’s Max Workouts Review: What They Don’t Tell You

Update! This review was written in 2012. There are much better workout programs now. Click here to find out more!

You may be wondering what sets Max Workouts apart from everything else. Read the full review to find out.

Shin Ohtake’s workout program explained:

What’s included?

The following e-books are included in the set:

1 – Program e-book
2 – Lean Body Diet e-book
3 – Muscle Recovery e-book
4 – Body Weight Exercises e-book
5 – Smoothie Recipes e-book


Even if you purchase the Basic version, you’ll have almost everything you’ll need to get your body in shape. Personally, this basic package already made a significant impact on my overall physique. It’s a great place to start, and you can always purchase other e-books if you wish to continue with other workouts.


– “Max Workouts 90 Day Fitness Program”. This will be your main resource material. Though this was released a few years ago, it has since been updated with more photos and information. You can import it onto your iPad or computer, so you can bring it to the gym with you. You can also print it out so you have a hard copy.

– “Lean Body Diet: How to Eat for Maximum Fat Loss“. An e-book that is essential to your success. It helps you follow a healthy low-carb diet without having to resort to supplements or harmful chemicals. It’s a comprehensive guide, which includes options according to your desired fat-loss. It looks simple enough, but requires some time to sift through. It even includes a worksheet for you to more accurately list down your diet plan. This was a big help for me in keeping track of my meals.

– “Ultimate Muscle Recovery Guide”. It’s common knowledge that your body needs its rest to recover. This short e-book explains how a massage is beneficial to loosen up the muscles. You don’t even have to go to a massage parlor; it teaches you how to use a roller on yourself.

– Free 30-day membership to the “Max Workouts Online Fitness Club”. This is an incredible value because other people who are on the same program are able to ask each other questions and provide valuable tips and techniques. You can look at the videos for further guidance, and eventually, once you finish the 90-day fitness program, you can check out new workouts on the site, which is regularly updated. Do not take this aspect of the package for granted! It is of great value and may turn out to be more helpful than you think.


The Deluxe package is recommended for people who have difficulty translating written instructions into actions. This package is better for those people because it includes videos so that you no longer have to read; you can just watch your program for the day on your iPhone, iPad or any other mobile device.

Also, if you tend to travel or are simply not the type to visit the gym a lot, you’ll benefit from the bodyweight workouts included in this package.

The Deluxe package includes all the e-books in the Basic version plus:

-“Max Workouts Training Videos”. Sometimes people have a hard time sticking to their program because they simply can’t remember it, or are too lazy to memorize the exercises before heading to the gym. These videos were designed to reduce the time required to master the workouts through reading them. Instead, all you have to do is play the video and watch Shin demonstrate the exercise. They are compatible with the iOS devices for mobility and convenience.

-“Bodyweight Workouts 4 Week Fitness Program”. Gym equipment is a requirement in most fitness programs and Max Workouts is no exception. That’s not to say you need a truckload of machines to do Max Workouts; a few dumbbells will suffice (more on this later). This is convenient for people on vacation or on business who would like to keep to the program within the confines of their hotel room. I’ve tried this on the beach, in my mother’s garage, even on a soccer field. Use these bodyweight workouts to help maintain what progress you’ve made at the end of the 90-day program or as a standalone program.


How determined are you to be in the best shape of your life? The Premium package is more expensive than the Basic, but contains twice as much information, an awesome value. Included are more challenging workouts to push your limits even further. If you think the Basic was tough, then you are in for an even rougher ride with the Premium package.

Contents include everything in the Basic and Deluxe packages plus:

-“Max Workouts Extreme 6-Week Fitness Program“. After completing the 90-day program, this e-book is a stellar continuation to help maintain and build more muscle. The word “extreme” may be intimidating, but the contents of this e-book are well within your capabilities if you had already completed the Basic package prior to continuing with this package.

-“Killer Kettle Bells 4-week Fitness Program“. The use of kettle bells is an effective and refreshing way to build your strength. Perhaps the only disadvantage of this e-book is that not all gyms have a kettle bell set. While it is a good investment to purchase your own set, it is not cheap. A good alternative to buying a complete set is buying a pair of kettle bells with a dial to adjust the weight. This will also save on space. The Killer Kettle Bells e-book has been one of my favorites.

Max Workouts Club

Also included in the package is a free 30-day membership to the Max Workouts club. Discuss and share your experiences in the forum, and also gain access to videos and other additional content. Other members have valuable insight to share that is relevant to the program. If you have any helpful tips to share, feel free to do so in this members-only space. You’d be surprised at how much information you can pick up. Personally, I’ve learned a lot just by reading how other people do their versions of the program. It’s inspirational to see other people who have started the program before you, succeed. This drive to finish is essential to your success.

Aside from the main program, the deluxe and premium options include access to more videos as well as workout schedules to follow. If you are interested in kettle bell workouts, there is a guide provided to help you get started.

What equipment to use:

Personally, I only use a pull-up bar, some dumbbells and a bench. Some people have a barbell handy, but this is not really necessary. My pull-up bar is the kind that you can attach to a doorframe, and I just bring it with me whenever I travel; simple as that. For cardio exercises, I don’t use a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine. I just run around my block, or if I’m in the area, I run on the beach. What’s great about the Max Workouts program is how little equipment you actually need. If you don’t have any dumbbells, it’s easy to find a cheap pair of second hand dumbbells for this purpose. I once bought a pair at the local junk shop. You can also improvise with your equipment if you’d rather not spend. Try using canned goods or water bottles in place of dumbbells. You can also do the program at your gym of choice, with even the sparsest of gyms surely having everything you’ll need. You don’t have to spend a huge amount on gym equipment.

One thing you will need is an interval timer. It’s essential that you keep to the prescribed times. Don’t rest longer than what is allowed and don’t extend exercises. If you keep to the times, the whole workout should be done in no more than 30 minutes including warm-up.

Who can use the Max Workouts Fitness Program?

For starters, if you have a heart problem it’s always best to consult your physician about any strenuous activity. In this case, your heart is going to be beating very, very quickly. If you have any joint or tendon problems, it’s best to assess your limits before starting the program. It’s a very dynamic program, with wide ranges of motion that will only be fully utilized if your body is up to it.

Because of the nature of this program, bodybuilders probably won’t find the program appealing as is; it’s not meant for bulking up. Some members of the Max Workouts Club have tried to modify the program in order to suit them more, but you’ll have to ask them for instructions, as there is no specific e-book geared towards greatly increasing muscle mass.

Otherwise, absolutely anyone can do the Max Workouts Fitness Program. If you wish to burn fat and build lean muscle, go ahead and check out the program. You’ll never know until you try. You don’t have to be super athletic to try this program. It may be difficult a first, but at the end of the day, the goal is to get in shape and eventually you will get used to the demands of working out on an almost daily basis. While it’s normal to push yourself, this program does not require you to exercise to the point of injury.

What to expect:

The Max Workouts program makes use of two different types of workouts, which are high intensity weight training and interval cardio on alternating days. It’s important that you stick to the level of intensity that Shin recommends, to ensure that you make the most of every session. This is an essential part of building lean muscles and burning fat.

Each workout lasts around 30 minutes with warm-up. At the beginning of the 90-day program, workouts are still done on alternating days. For example, you will do high intensity weight training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and high intensity interval cardio on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The sixth day is reserved for recovery, which consists of only light exercise, and a full rest day with no exercise on the seventh day. The beginning of each ‘week’ depends solely on you.

Following a 5-10 minute warm-up is high intensity weight training. The warm-up consists of a light workout, waking up the muscles and making them limber. This helps prep the body for the main workout. At 20 minutes, it doesn’t sound too long but you may think otherwise after the intense weight lifting exercises. The exercises are extremely challenging because they activate more than one muscle group at the same time. For example, in a dumbbell push-up row, instead of pushing up with both arms you alternately extend one arm outwards, while the other arm is pushing your body up. You will feel the burn from the shoulders, chest and core all the way down the legs. You’ll feel it when you have to move on to the next exercise without taking a break in between. You’ll feel it when you do the prescribed number of reps, and when you have to move onto the next exercise without a break again. Once you reach the last exercise, you must repeat the series of exercises from the beginning. By the 5th round, you might be tempted to give up, but don’t. You’ll pant, sweat and breathe very hard, but at the end of the day you get what you pay for: heart pumping quickly, muscles burning from exhaustion and sweat pouring down your face. I try my very best to finish all the rounds, and I feel extra proud of myself if I finish it without resting. It’s important that you do the motions properly so you don’t injure yourself. I almost sprained my wrist when I was not able to do a correct push up due to sheer exhaustion.

For cardio days, the workout proper is slightly shorter at about 25 minutes with warm-up. It can be performed on a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike or outdoors. Personally, I find running outdoors is a more enjoyable way of getting some cardio done. When the weather’s too cold or too hot, I have a stationary bike to get me by. Remember that it’s not how fast you get it done, but by how hard you work. If you don’t push yourself hard enough, you’ll see lackluster results. That would be a shame because there’s so much potential in this program. All you have to do is find the willpower to put a lot of effort into it.

Does it get boring after a few exercises?

The e-book contains approximately 60 pages of exercises and pictures. You can find supplementary videos on the Shin Ohtake’s Club website. The Basic package consists of 90 days worth of workouts, and these workouts vary throughout the program. Both the Deluxe and Premium packages offer more workouts, if you feel that you want to change it up more.

There’s enough variety to keep you entertained, with enough repetition for it to be easily followed. This is a delicate balance that other fitness programs fail to achieve. The Max Workouts Club is an excellent source of new information and exercises, if you choose to do more than the required daily workout. Every three weeks, you are given a new set of workouts to try to continuously push your limits. Other members are encouraging and helpful when it comes to questions. Shin himself, as well as other moderators, is available to answer a few posts daily. Members continuously support each other with words of encouragement and tips to keep workouts interesting.

Shin Ohtake’s workout program keeps your body guessing and prevents it from getting used to the workouts. It is interesting enough, with adequate selections to last you at least a few months at least.

Max Workouts Review

The program is all about the tagline: “The 90-Day Lean Body Fitness Program”. As stated, the program aims to build lean muscle as opposed to large muscle mass. If your primary goal is to look like the Incredible Hulk, then this program is not for you. It is designed to burn high amounts of body fat while building toned muscle. This program is applicable to both men and women, though there are specific versions for each of the two. The author does a good job emphasizing that women have no reason to fear looking too cut or ripped.

Shin Ohtake is the man behind Max Workouts. He has over twenty years of experience as a personal trainer, coach, therapist and professional athlete. All those years of working with coaches and athletes, studying and researching has made Max Workout the amazing program that it is. His doctoral level education can be attributed for his brief, but thorough scientific explanations of why certain exercises were favored and others weren’t. Most of the content consists of exercise and schedules for 12 unique weeks.

Strength Training

Strength training is every Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the week, or every 1st, 3rd and 5th day of the week if you don’t start your week on a Monday. It focuses on compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups for maximum results. “Isolation exercises” are not included in the program. The movements are simple enough, such as pull, push, and lift, among a few others. Mastering these basic movements will help you understand why they are good for the purpose of this program. Shin is clear and concise in his explanations, and I’ve had no trouble connecting the dots when it comes to why this exercise is good for this and that.

Warm-ups are essential to a good workout. Whether it is for loosening up or limbering up, I found that following the instructions to a T made for a better workout. The purpose of a circuit workout is to keep your heart rate up by not having breaks in between exercises. There are only a few exercises in a round, and these are to be repeated after a brief rest time of 15-60 seconds in between rounds. It’s going to be intense, but that’s the whole point of not resting in between exercises.

At the end of strength training, you can do an additional core workout if you still have the energy to do so. Toning your core will help in a lot of subtle ways. The core workout is quite challenging, but effective. It’s not your typical workout; in fact, you do not have do one single crunch exercise!

High Intensity Cardio

Every Tuesday and Thursday, or every 2nd and 4th day of your week is allotted for cardio training. Don’t be fooled; it can be every bit of intense as strength training. Each session is 25-30 minutes long with warm-up. It can be performed on your choice of cardio machine, such as the treadmill, stationary bike, cross trainer and elliptical machine.

You can also go for the more scenic route and run outside. High intensity interval training deals with high intensity and low intensity work. Over the course of the program you’ll realize the theory behind it. It will be explained over time.

Things I Like About the Program
– It’s for almost everyone. This is ideal for people like me who are going for muscle tone rather than bulk.
– It’s quick! I’m always busy; I don’t have time to go to the gym for hours everyday. Half an hour is very reasonable.
– My goal was to burn excess fat and build muscle. This program helped me achieve both of those goals.
– No need to purchase expensive equipment. I already had a pair of dumbbells. All I had to buy was a timer.
– Highly effective. I’ve tried other fitness programs, but all others have failed me in ways that Max Workouts succeeded.


I thoroughly enjoyed the this workout program. I achieved the results I wanted, and I’ve gotten used to working out almost everyday. It’s challenging, dynamic and efficient. There was no need to spend hours and hours in the gym. In fact, I didn’t even have to go to the gym, and neither do you! Although, there’s no way around putting in some honest work. There are no shortcuts or easy ways out. It’s pure, high intensity workouts. Highly recommended.

24 thoughts on “Shin Ohtake’s Max Workouts Review: What They Don’t Tell You”

  1. I just bought your system and opted not to try the free 21 day trial. I have now decided it would be beneficial so is it possible for me to access it now please? I hope so. Kind regards, Jo

  2. Looks very interesting but also quiet tough at the age of 56. Especially for my knees.
    Are the special exercises for elderly people?

    1. I just turned 77 two back surgeries scar tissue. This year had a right toe fusion. Had 0 cartridge left. Still somewhat painful, can I handle any of this. I know you loose muscle tone at this age what would you recommend for me. Thank you for helping

    2. I think the fact that you consider yourself elderly at 56 is very revealing. Age is very much a mental game as it is physical.

      Being concerned about your knees is wise and asking about safe exercises prior to attempting any program us smart but please do consider yourself elderly,especially at 56.

      Work your mental as well as your physical fitness, see yourself as stronger because of experience, not limited by age and go rock your new body.

      Whether it is this program or a different one, it is worth the effort, good luck.

    3. I’m 57 and far from elderly. Don’t blame your sore knees on age-it’s weight that causes joint pain (unless you have a medical condition).
      First thing you do is stop thinking of yourself as elderly…

    4. I’m 59…looks great, but I can’t start at that level. A reply to the question regarding seniors would be very appreciated!!

        1. A typical and hurtful response from someone who hasn’t suffered or has forgotten what it was like.I have been very athletic and strong all my life, until I developed foot drop. No idea why, lots of testing and trying to do various workouts, regardless. I probably would have made a comment like that a year ago, without thinking about what I was saying, so I understand your response, but it made me feel two inches tall for a second, until I realized it’s not my problem that you read into my short comment. That is why it always pays to be kind., I can’t do exercise at that level. I have to balance my body just to keep from falling, but I want to have a strong body, and I’m sure this type of exercise could be written up for people who are either have medical conditions like this, or are elderly. That is what I was referring to. 🙂

  3. I would like to find out if the program includes an excercise dvd and if i wanted to purchase would it be possible to do so from SA?

  4. I am 78 5’7” weigh 220lbs. can i start this program? I hesitate because I thought you said I should loose weight before I start. If that is so How far down should I go?

  5. Motivation and persistence are two of the most vital factors to use as the mental foundation for your stomach exercise. If you have a group of friends, challenge each other. See who can do the most amount of work in the gym, as this healthy form of competition could help shed pounds dramatically.

  6. Back injuries have let me somewhat limited and I am not sure I can safely execute the some of the exercises I have seen. Are there instructions on how to modify the exercises that I cannot do?

  7. Did Judith ever get a reply? I have knee issues too and wonder if this has modifications for those types of concerns?

  8. I just bought his books and started reading the diet one. Gosh it is confusing. For example, he says to elimate all legumes from diet, the next minute he says legumes in moderation is ok.

  9. Max Workouts looks suspicious. No legitimate business needs to register satellite websites like this one, filled with assurances that everything is legit. Think about it: what kind of business uses this tactic?

  10. for all of you that have mentioned your age, and been shamed for thinking of yourself as elderly, I just want to encourage you. I do believe age is to some degree mental, but some people don’t have the same chances as others do, though faith and hope, which should be disseminated liberallyl here, can encourage toward s better outlook. Some people have a very hard start in life, and few options. Some people are born with a silver spoon, have doting patents and have never had to fight just for sustenance. They have money and time for gym memberships and expensive health programs/food.. Kudos to you for wanting to start an exercise program and asking questions. I’m sorry the moderator isn’t answering. Pray, ask God to lead you toward your answers, plug into a church or social group,,do life, be involved and prayerful. for other people’s struggles. It has taken me a year and a half to find answers to my condition. I’ve had to be be persistent and prayerful. God is good

  11. Well, I bought into the basic program, and it looks like it will be a good fit. I had been doing a 3day/wk program at my local 24-hour fitness that adhered to similar governing concepts, but at $200/month, it wasn’t sustainable for me. Some non-professional feedback to those with concerns about age and/or bad joints.

    Age should never, in and of itself, be the determining factor. The fact that you are looking at something like this says you have a desire to pursue greater fitness for one reason or another. The most important thing is getting started and committing to achieving your goals. That will be true regardless of your age, or any program you choose to pursue. From my quick perusal of the material, it does provide advice on exercise substitutions and adjusting intensity, but that should be determined by your health, fitness and physical capabilities, not your age.

    As far as existing ailments – it is always advisable to get feedback from a doctor before engaging in a physical program if you have concerns. However, I want to add that my experience as a former weekend warrior type (racing out to perform my sports with little training, stretching or preparation) has left me at the relatively young age of 46 with sore knees, and bad shoulder on my throwing arm, and recurring back soreness (stemming from the hip flexors apparently). Having been through some therapy for these ailments, one of the focuses was always to develop muscles and supporting structures for ailing joint. One of my discoveries working through the classes and some time with a trainer was that PROPER TECHNIQUE worked wonders at taking the stress off the bad joint and allowing development of strength of the surrounding muscles. Doing correct lunges and squats shouldn’t strain the knee joint. proper positioning for push-ups takes the stress off the shoulder, etc.

    This is not to say it works for everyone, its up to you to talk with a doctor and get professional advice, but don’t throw away the opportunity to try something out of fear of the discomfort. I will also point out that the basic package for this program provides pictures and descriptions for the exercises. There may be value in spending time with a trainer to get familiar with that correct form. And if a trainer is too expensive, maybe look into a community recreation program that is usually much less expensive just to get that feedback and instruction before venturing out on your own.

  12. Hi, I did max workouts first 12 weeks 2 years ago with amazing results but did it a few months ago with less than good results. I think I lost the intensity with my warm up. Is it advisable to do the 12 week workout again and what are your tips to get myself motivated and as motivated as I was first time around.

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