Training is great and most of us, if we’ve been in the iron game (or any kind of athletic endeavor) for a significant amount of time, love it. But, unless our goals are purely aesthetic, training is practice and there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to apply all that training in a test, competition, or real-life situation – in other words, when it counts.
The solution, of course, is to simulate “tests” in training and/or to seek out competitions and real-life challenges often enough that we are confident our practiced skills are giving us what we want or need.
Keep in mind though, the test must be different than training. How disparate or similar the training and test are may vary according to needs and training goals. For example, to a powerlifter, a live audience and judges may be the only difference between much of their training and the actual performance. On the other hand, for a CrossFit trainee who, on the spur of the moment, decides to hit the slopes on a weekend road trip, the training and the test may look totally different.