One of my favorite shows on television right now is Deal or No Deal. I am sure you have all seen this show.

    Basically, a contestant chooses a briefcase by random hoping their case holds a one-million-dollar prize. Through the process of elimination, they choose to open cases by promptings of friends, family and studio audience members. With each round of open cases, the "banker" makes a cash offer with the hopes of enticing the contestant into taking the "deal" and not having to pay out a maximum dollar prize. If the deal is not taken, the contestant continues to open the remaining briefcases until a deal is made or they are down to the final case. The game is begun, played and ended on chance and luck.

    Now, I know you are wondering how that will tie into fitness, so let me bridge the gap.

    I believe many of our clients play Deal or No Deal. with their fitness goals from the conception of the goal to the end of the "game," if you will. What I know from so many years of being in the fitness industry is that true results will come from a strategic and understood plan, not by chance or luck.

    The First Case = the Initial Goal
    Usually chosen with the hopes that it contains the million-dollar prize, the first case is the same as the initial goal the client has set. As trainers, we should question why our client has chosen that particular goal.
    In the past, the goal was something like, "I want to lose 15 pounds." The question we should ask is, "Why 15 pounds? Where did you come up with that number?"

    What I usually found was the client was hoping that a loss is weight would change the aesthetics of how their clothes fit or overall composition of their body. The truth was that it didn't really matter to them what the scale registered, as long as they were healthy, felt good and liked the way they looked.

    Now we are able to clearly define why we have a specifically thought-out goal and dial our training in to target that prize.

    The Next Cases = Obstacles
    The other cases to open as we go through the training could be defined as the distractions that can come up and take our mind off our goal or impede the progress in reaching it. Setting an expectation ahead of time and teaching our clients to schedule in their day a time for exercise just as they have to schedule time for their job will help ensure they treat this with the same level priority as they do their work.

    The Banker = Small Success
    The banker is the guy who makes deals. He offers these deals with the hopes of ending the game and never paying out the big prize. This is usually what I equate small success to.

    When a client starts to see the results, sometimes they forget they have not accomplished what we set out to do, so the job is not done. As they see a change in the way their clothes fit, higher energy levels and increased self confidence, we have to keep them focused so they do not accept anything less than what they wanted to begin with. I have seen many clients begin to see results, throw all of their hard-earned success to the wind with poor food choices and missed training sessions and then have to do the "walk of shame" back to the starting line and begin from the start all over again.

    The Audience = Cheerleaders
    The family, friends and studio audience are exactly the same. Their role is to cheer the client on. They help encourage the client to continue the game, ignore the banker and get the big prize.

    Tell your clients to include their family and friends. Let them be openly accountable for what they are trying to accomplish. Your client will need fans cheering them on outside of the four walls of your gym.

    While I truly enjoy Deal or No Deal., training cannot be handled the same way if you expect to find results. Take your client out of the game, and make their training the real deal.
    Happy training, and good health!

    Mike McDaniel is an authority of leadership, goal-setting disciplines, sales strategies and corporate physical fitness. He has been a professional trainer for over 18 years and owned two health clubs, employing over 75 personal trainers. Mike can be booked for speaking engagements, sales training or consultant at