Comparing a bowflex to a treadmill or an elliptical is like comparing apples to...no, not oranges, more like chicken. They provide completly different types of workouts. If you want cardio, your choices really are treadmill, elliptical or crosstrainer, or some sort of bike. A bowflex provides you with a way to do resistance training. So then your choice would be bowflex, "total gym" type thing, or a set of weights and a bench or ball.
I have all three types of cardio equipment at home and use them all. I can't do high impact cardio more than once or twice a week so I switch around a lot. I lost most of my weight using just the recumbent bike and going outside and walking or jogging. Now I do much more varied cardio.
I've only used a bowflex a few times. I found it complicated and annoying, but I'm told by the owner that you get used to how to readjust it for each exercise and it becomes less cumbersome. If I were you, I'd find somewhere to try one- a store with a knowledgeable employee- before I bought. My personal choice would be a ball, step and free weights.
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