How to Use a Gymboss Interval Timer

How to Use a Gymboss Interval TimerI got a reader request for a tutorial on how to use a Gymboss Interval Timer and thought now would be a perfect time to post it because Gymboss recently sent me their new miniMAX to try out (I’ve included a guide to both models in this post).

As a heads up, all the Gymboss links in this post are affiliate links (if you go to Gymboss from P&I and buy a timer, I get a small commission), but I’m by no means trying to be a salesman here. There are free smartphone apps that work great for interval timing as well, I just personally love the Gymboss—and it comes in especially handy when I’m teaching group fitness classes (students don’t want to see you walking around the studio with your iPhone). For those of you with a Gymboss or wanting to buy one, here’s a basic set-up guide:

How to Use a Gymboss Interval Timer

How to Set Up a Gymboss Interval TimerThere are three modes: clock, stopwatch and interval timer. To change modes, hold both the up and down arrows at the same time. I’m going to focus on the interval timer mode.

  1. Press any button to turn it on.
  2. Press SET. The work interval will start blinking (top number on the right). Use the up and down arrows to adjust the number to your desired length of time.
  3. Press SET again. The rest interval will start blinking (bottom number on the right). Use the up and down arrows to adjust the number to your desired length of rest. If you don’t want a rest period (for example, just want the timer to beep every minute), bring this number down to zero.
  4. Press SET again. The number of rounds will start blinking (number in bottom left corner). Use the up and down arrows to adjust to the desired number of rounds.
  5. Press SET again. The type of alarm beep will start blinking. BH = beep high BL = beep low V= vibrate. Use up and down arrows to change the type until the one(s) you want is blinking. I usually just keep mine on BH.
  6. Press SET again. The alarm duration will start blinking. You can choose 1, 2, 5 or 9 seconds in length, using the up and down arrows to scroll through the options until the one you want is blinking. I keep mine on 1.
  7. Push SET one final time to exit setup mode. You’re now ready to begin your workout.
  8. Press START to begin.

If you need to pause it during the workout, hit the START button three times quickly in a row. To stop and reset the timer, hold the START button down for three seconds.

How to Use the Gymboss miniMax

How to Use a Gymboss miniMax Interval TimerThe buttons and general instructions I went over above apply here as well; the miniMax just has some extra features. Instead of just one INTERVAL mode, you have four options:

  • 1 interval
  • 2 intervals
  • 3+ intervals (up to 25)
  • Multi (2-25 intervals with the option to repeat certain interval or groups of intervals)

Hit SET and then MENU (use the arrows until the pointer is at MENU then hit SET) to chose your desired mode. For the 1, 2 and 3+ interval options, you’ll follow the same steps as with the regular Gymboss timer (Hit SET and then SETUP to begin). For the 3+, once you’ve entered the desired number of intervals, put 00:00 for the next one and it will stop prompting you to add more.

Setting Up Multi Interval Mode

Let’s go through an example on the Multi Interval mode because this is probably the most complicated.

Let’s say you wanted your running workout to look like 3 rounds of this:

  • A 5-minute jog
  • Tabata intervals of sprinting and walking (8 rounds of 20 seconds of sprinting and 10 seconds of walking)
  • A 5-minute jog

When entering this into the Gymboss miniMax, we think of it as 4 intervals: 5 mins, 20 secs, 10 sec, 5 mins. Just like I outlined anove with the regular Gymboss, you use the SET button as an “enter” and the arrow buttons to adjust the time. Keeping that in mind, you enter the following:

  • 5:00 x1 – a 5-minute interval
  • 0:20 x8 – 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work
  • 0:10 xP – 10-second rest intervals alternating with the previous interval (push the down arrow from 0 to get the P option when entering in number of rounds)
  • 5:00 x1 – a 5-minute interval

The timer will prompt you to enter in another interval, just leave it at 00:00 and press SET so that it knows you’re done. It will then ask you how many rounds of the above routine you want to complete. For this particular example, you’d use the arrows to bring the number to 3 and then hit SET. You’ll then be prompted to select alarm type and duration of alarm, as outlined at the beginning of the post. When you’re finished, your screen will look like this:

How to Use a Gymboss miniMax Interval TimerWhen you’re ready to start your workout, hit START. This is what your Gymboss will look like in progress:

How to Use a Gymboss miniMax Interval Timer

Other Gymboss miniMax Features

You also have the option to save a workout configuration for future use so that you don’t have to go through the process of setting up each interval again. Once you’ve entered all your intervals:

  1. Hit SET to bring up the menu.
  2. Use the arrows to scroll to SAVE. Once your pointer arrow is next to it, hit SET.
  3. Chose preset 1 (P1) or preset 2 (P2). Hit SET.

To open a saved workout, hit SET to bring up the menu and scroll to RECALL. It’s important to note that you have to be the in the same mode as the workout you’re trying to open. For example, you can’t bring up a saved 3+ interval workout if you’re in Multi mode.


I hope that was helpful! This post is super long, but hopefully it doesn’t make using this timer seem more complicated than it actually is (it’s easy–I swear!). If you have any other questions about Gymboss timers, let me know in the comments section.


Links are affiliate.

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  1. I’ve been doing a lot of interval training with my trainer lately and would love to do this on my own! I’m definitely going to bookmark this for later when I’m reading to buy my own gym boss!


  2. I love interval traning and need one of these for at home workouts! Karen @karenlovestorun

  3. This was really helpful. Thanks for the tutorial. I’ll have to save this for when I actually buy a gymboss timer. I’ve been using my iphone and it’s not really the best set up.

  4. This is great. The instructions with the timer are so tiny!

  5. Barbara says:

    Thanks so much! I was one of the readers asking for this tutorial. Got my Gymboss out and (after inserting a battery for the first time!) got it all set up. Looking forward to using it now 🙂

    Thank you!

  6. I want to do 30 second intervals for 3 minutes with 30 second rests (after the 3 minutes) for 10 rounds. Is it possible to set one beep for the 30 sec intervals (to switch dumbbell exercises) and a 3 second beep between rounds (so I know when to rest)?

  7. Bookmarking! Do you know if I can do longer sessions with the gymboss? I need a beep every 30 seconds for about 40 minutes and then every 10 minutes for the next 2 hours.

    • I’m not 100% sure — but I think the miniMax could do that. You can set interval numbers up to 99 so that’d work for both those timeframes.

  8. Your instructions and visuals were much better than Gymboss had to offer!! Thank you for taking the time to share and review…

  9. Thanks for the easy instructions! Now I can’t get the clip in the slot. Advice?

  10. Help! I have the GYMBOSS interval timer, it has a clock option but I cant seem to change the hour ive looked everywhere online and in the instructuins and cant seem to figure it out – how can i make the clock have the right time?!?!

  11. How do i set up the time on the clock on the interval one (not the miní)?

  12. how do you turn the gym boss off when not using it?

  13. Is there a way to stop the gym boss mid programmed interval not just pause and e.g. restart or do you have to wait till the program runs course.

    • I haven’t been able to figure this out either. You can pause it by pressing start a bunch of times, but I usually just take the batteries out if I need to restart mid-program.

  14. Juan Pablo Peña Ruiz Esparza says:

    I thought that this equipment was going to be as simple to use as buy it and use it, but it seems that I have to go to NASA for a course to set up my exercise programs. It is easier to use the gym boss app for my smartphone.

  15. Many thanks for this Nicole. Been trying to figure out how to set up multi intervals and your instructions were very clear.

  16. Thanks a lot! As a Personal Trainer, I’ve been relying on stopwatches and Tabata timers, but Tabata timers get really complicated once you want to use multiple different intervals, and stopwatches require me to pay too much attention to the time and not enough to my clients. I bought the MiniMAX expressly for the purpose of setting up Multiple, varying intervals, and your instructions made it easy to set up! Thanks!

  17. F bissett says:

    Hi just came across site, can you use minimax on a rowing machine

  18. how do you take off clip so you can change to band

  19. Thank you for the great explanations! I’m a visual learner and your photo with the named parts and how to program my GYMBOSS were so helpful. Thank you for turning my frustration into a happy, successful feeling!! Now, I’m off to work out! 😉

  20. I didn’t quite understand how the gymboss worked when I bought it. Rather than cardio intervals, I do anaerobic intervals sprinting on a outdoor running track. i gradually shorten the distance -from 220 – eventually ending with the last 3 at 100yd interval.
    what i need is a timing device where interval 1 is like a stop watch and interval 2 is a fixed rest interval -say 2 min.
    I don’t think gymboss can do this. Do you know any other device which would.? Thank you

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