In the outstanding (personal comment) book by Matt Watkinson, he refers to work by the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, who explored the concepts of consumerism and value. The conclusion was that there are four sources of value:
Use value – The function of an object for example, a pen writes, a watch tells the time, a cup holds liquid.
Exchange value – The economic or market value of an object, i.e. what the consumer will pay for it.
Symbolic value – The value of an object as a symbol, for example a wedding ring, a graduation gift, or a family heirloom.
Sign value – The value of the object in relation to other similar objects, and what that object says about the owner in a social context. Strong brands have great sign value as the consumer identifies with the brand, as the brand helps them define themselves.
Baudrillard argued that consumption is driven by sign value. What the object says about the consumer. This also determines its exchange value. Consumption is NOT driven by any kind of object need, but as a means to convey our beliefs, values and self-image. Watches, pens, cars, shoes all illustrate significantly different values, status and tastes. The brands we buy and the products we own tell a story, our individual story. It is our personal beliefs and values that drive consumption. 
Functional training [whatever that is], may well have great theory behind it, but in terms of offering value and status to the end-end user, it’s truly not appealing. It needs context. Mel C. Siff PhD [SUPERTRAINING], commented “functionality is not independent of context, and that is should be defined in terms of the outcome”.
I am not a Sports Scientist, or a specialist in rehabilitation, I leave that to the experts. I work in the Health and Fitness Industry. The exercisers that I come into contact with in my day to day situations, are apparently healthy, hardworking individuals, who lead busy lives, and visit a facility 1 to 2 times per week.
The exercisers have differing outcomes, from changing their appearance, to socialising with others, increasing their fitness levels, and much more. We need to ask ourselves; ‘how can we create a functional space that has increased sign value and in turn determines the exchange value?’, or, what is the function of the functional space?
The reason for this short blog was to recognise that the functional space has a lot to offer the end user, but it needs to be defined, since it requires context. Not just, ‘this is the functional area’.
We must determine how the functional space going to reinforce the values and beliefs of the individuals that use it? Let’s not use the function to illustrate a point. Let’s define our functional offering. There is no value in the word function for the vast majority of consumers.
Some reasoning questions that could be used to support a unique functional space that offers a different type of value to the end user: [in no particular order and not an inclusive list]
- Who is our audience, and what do they want form us as a facility?
- What is the name of our functional space/area? (there is no value in the word function for the consumer)
- What does functional training mean to us as a facility?
- What is our functional training experience?
- Will the functional space be for group training, 1 to 1, or for individuals wanting to train on their own, or a mixture of all 3?
- Does the functional space require a timetable of sessions on offer, from group training to inductions?
- How do we build members confidence within the functional space?
- How do we build members competence within the functional space?
- Could our overall exercise experience offering be improved by defining our functional space?
- What are to be the aims of our functional training group sessions?
- How does functional training allow us to tell our story?
- Would functional training be something that our clients/exercisers would adopt?
- What equipment do we currently have available to us that could be used successfully for functional training?
- How long would a functional training session last for our client groups?
- What training do the facility staff require for functional training to be delivered effectively?
- What factors need to be considered if functional training is to be delivered safely and effectively?
- What environmental factors would most influence a successful functional training session?
- Do we require a functional space?
Consumption is NOT driven by any kind of object need, but as a means to convey our beliefs, values and self-image.
How does the function of the functional space achieve this?
Keith Smith EDT