Let's start at the beginning here. I saw a person online asking if the Ab Circle Pro could support their weight of 215 lbs. I think the Ab Circle Pro can support that initial weight, but I cannot not be sure. However, the new version of the machine called the Mini Circle definitely can. I have a friend who is 260 and says his mini is sturdy. I would say the Pro probably can support the weight but I'm not positive.
Is it any good?
Both machines are good if you use them and are diligent about using them. They provide a nice little cardio workout which is great for weight loss and will strengthen your abs and tone them. Keep in mind that ab workouts won't drop fat around your mid section. They serve to strengthen and tone the muscles in that area and the energy you expend during those workouts will serve to burn some calories over the entire body. To date I doubt they have come up with a way to spot reduce fat. So in conjunction with using these machines it is important, and the manufacturers even suggest, to have a sensible diet.
Does It Hurt?
That's a relative question. It does not cause physical pain to use the machine. It's very simple to use and actually provides a way to do very easy movements which will target your abs. When compared to the stress your body goes through when getting down to do a sit up or a crunch, the Ab Circle Pro is a breeze. The pain may come when you feel the burn associated with working your core muscles. That's the good pain. But if you take it easy and work into the 3 minutes workout you should be fine. Working muscles you haven't worked in a long time will definitely be felt. If you have reasonable flexibility the only place you should feel the pain, if any, is in your abs. But, these machines have alternate positioning allowing you to work the thighs and buttocks and even arms so it provides more than just an ab/cardio workout.
When do you start noticing a difference?
This depends on what difference you are looking for. After a minute on the machine you will be feeling the stretching of the core muscles and the cardio workout kicking in. If your diligent with your workouts, it is reasonable to assume you can see differences in 3 to 4 weeks. But, you will immediately start feeling a difference in your body. Strong abs alleviate a lot of stress other places in the body. For example, it does wonders for your posture and can really help with lower back pain. The core is really important to keep strong.
Is it worth the money?
Again these is a relative question.The ab circle pro runs $199 and the Mini Circle is $119 right now so the Mini is the best value and the bugs people had reported in the original Ab Circle Pro have been addressed in the new version. If you intend to use the machine, perhaps in front of the TV, it will be worth it, especially if you don't have a gym membership or are one of those people who don't want to work out in front of others.