|Focus on the finish|
Being a competitor myself , I can give you one advice: be supportive as a friend or family member. I experienced this during my first prep myself, I had ups and ,mostly, downs and I had a lot of mood swings, like being that cute little gismo gremlin and a minute later I was the 3rd generation gremlin, being all grumpy and angry.
To prepare for a contest you are pushing yourself beyond your limits, physically and mentally. So what you say to a competitor-beginner can have a very negative or a positive impact on your relation, during the preparation or after the contest. Therefore I made a list of things you better keep to yourself.
1. 'Don't build up too much muscle':
This one is as old as the hills. I can't hear it myself anymore.
Before saying this to your friend, ask your friend to explain his new passion to you. I'm well aware that when someone tells you that they start competing in bodybuilding contest, you are likely to think about Arnold Schwarzenegger or about the real bodybuilding women, right?
No worries: If it was that easy too build muscle in such a short period, oh heaven I think everybody would be a bodybuilder. It takes decades of intense training and dedication to reach such a level.
Whether you like it or not, a strong women is beautiful too. I respect every athlete and every category of bodybuilding competitions because in every category you have to work hard to reach the physique you want.
And you should respect every athlete too, since they all have to work off their butts.
2. 'You are training too much' :
Oh my... I don't even remember how often I was told this.
It may sound crazy when your are told that someone is working out for hours, 5 times a week and dedicating their spare-time to training, cardio and meal preparations. It sounds like a huge sacrifice, but for a competitor it's not. For them it has turned into a lifestyle that is everything but average.
Before I started competing, I was partying every weekend once or twice, went to bars, restaurants or to the movies almost every weekend. Now, the last time I was at a restaurant was for Christmas, which was also the last time I went to a club. (Plus, we left very early as I wanted to workout the day after...)
So don't molest your friend when he/she doesn't want to go out to be fit the day after in order to hit an intense training routine.
3. 'You have become too skinny':
Funny how fast the coin can flip...
Before the prep you said that your friend shouldn't become too muscular, now you are telling them not to become too skinny.
The closer a competitor gets to the D-Day, the more body fat they are about to lose and it seems like they have become super skinny. But no, they have just become leaner, and they will lower their body-fat percentage even more the closer the show comes.
Usually a competitor only remains that lean (or skinny how you would call it) for a short period of time, namely for the show day and sometimes for photo shoots post-contest. In the 'off-season' they are more likely to have that 'healthier' look again, except for some fitness models.
4.'Come on, One bite won't kill you':
Well yes, it will.
One bite will just lead to another tiny bite and another and another...
Pretty fast your friend can get completely 'off track' , lose the focus and all the previous weeks and months of training and dieting will be lost. So yes, one bite can 'kill'...someones goals.
When you enter a contest-prep it's all or nothing. When your goal is to push beyond the limits, well then you have to change your priorities. A first time competitor will learn that food is fuel and that the connection they once had with fast food won't be so powerful anymore.So instead of forcing them to have one bite, support them and don't give them no bite at all, even when they are about to get really mad. You have to stay supportive (and strong) to resist.
And here some words to my kindred spirits:
Bodybuilding competitions are challenging and with continuous effort you will grow strength. You are about to learn what is good and what is bad for your body, you will try out different types of diets and training routines. Always keep in mind that it's a journey. You will be criticized by people so often that a supportive and motivating surrounding becomes very important for your journey.
When you are competing, it doesn't matter what other people say or think about you and your physique. You will always find yourself with people that don't accept your lifestyle.