Tattoos and lifting weights modify one’s body to be more attractive and appealing.
But exercising immediately after getting a tattoo isn’t advisable. You have to give it time to heal before you hit the gym.
Because working out with a new tattoo isn’t only lead to infection and pain, but also you might lose its color as it heals.
Let’s read on to learn why and how long you should wait to work out after getting a tattoo, what things to keep in mind to avoid fading, and more.
Can You Workout After Getting a Tattoo?
Shortly, it depends — on the location and the size of your tattoo.
For example, if you’ve done on your leg, you can perform upper body exercises, but it might be challenging for the lower body.
It’s safe to say that if you’re doing any movement that stretches or hurts your tattooed skin, don’t do it.
A tattoo is like a wound, so you have to give it adequate time and care to heal properly. Otherwise, it might peel or flake, leading to pain, delay recovery, and fade as it heals.
So, giving it a little bit of time is a good idea before you start lifting weights.
Why Should You Wait Working Out After Getting a Tattoo?
Here are the three main reasons you should wait to exercise after getting a new tattoo.
To Avoid Pain and Color Fading
Like I mentioned earlier, tattoos are like wounds, and they need time and care to heal.
Tattoos go through several stages throughout the healing process where it’s more or less harmful to be moving them around.
Some tattoos are swelled a lot and get a little more scabby, so you may want to move that skin a little bit less.
For example, if your new tattoo crosses a joint (e.g., your wrist or the inside of your elbow), you want and should modify your training accordingly to avoid moving that joint.
Because constant stretching and moving of that skin will disrupt the healing process and cause that tattoo to lose a little bit of color and even bleed.
Another reason is that doing high-intensity exercises or weight lifting could increase the amount of plasma output that your tattoo will have.
It gives you a pretty unpleasant feeling and increases the possibility of infection, leading to a dealy recovery.
Your fresh tattoo is an open wound, and you have to treat it that way even though it’s not gushing blood.
When your blood or body fluids are leaking out, you can get cross-contamination of other people’s blood or body fluid that is coming in.
And there is a high chance of getting bacteria from the gym equipment into your tattoo and can cause infection, which you don’t want actually.
So, it’s best to leave that kind of exercise until the plasma has stopped weeping and the skin has sealed off on the top.
How Long Should You Wait to Workout After Getting a Tattoo?
After finishing your tattoo, you should wait for at least 48 hours before doing any strenuous activity that makes you sweat, especially high-intensity cardio and strength training.
Note the words “at least.” Generally, our body takes about 4 to 6 weeks to heal a wound. (1)
However, many factors can cause impaired healing, such as hypoxia, bacterial colonization, ischemia, reperfusion injury, etc.
So, it would be better to avoid certain exercises in this timeframe to heal your tattoo quickly and safely.
Are there any tips to smoothly complete the healing process?
Yes, let’s dive into that.
What to Avoid After Getting a Tattoo?
Here’re the things you should never do after getting a fresh tattoo.
The first thing you should ensure is that you cover your newly tattooed area with loose clothes so the winds can flow easily.
Many germs and bacteria in the gym can infect your tattooed skin as we share all the equipment in the gym with many people.
Whether you’ve done a small tattoo on your forearm or a large one, you should definitely protect yourself and your tattoo from infection.
So, for the first 2 to 4 weeks, it would be better to ensure that the tattoo is covered with baggy clothing while working out in the gym or outdoors.
Exercising Tattooed Area
Tattoos are gone through different stages throughout their healing process.
So, exercising the tattooed part can cause you to swell or be a little more scabby and increase plasma output — hurting the healing process and creating pain or unpleasant feeling.
However, there are certain exercises you can perform without affecting your tattooed area. We’ll get back into it later.
After getting a tattoo, it’s not recommended to swim or exercise in the water. Because, as I mentioned before, the tattoo takes a little longer to heal properly.
So, to avoid the tattoo fading faster and improve its healing process, you should avoid water exercises or swim for about 4 to 6 weeks.
Sun Exposure or Outdoor Exercise
Outdoor exercising or exposing your new tattoo directly to the sun may cause the tattoo’s color to fade and even burn your skin.
Also, intensive training with a fresh tattoo isn’t a good idea because you’ll sweat a lot during workouts which hurts your healing process and can drain your tattoo.
So, it would be best to avoid directly exposing your tattoo to the sun for about four to six weeks. But if you do outdoor exercises, make sure you’ve covered your tattooed area very well.
What Exercises Can You Do with a New Tattoo?
Whether you can work out or not depends on the location and the size of your tattoo.
After getting a tattoo, it would be best for you to move or stretch that skin as little as possible.
However, if you really want to exercise, you should modify your training accordingly.
For example, if you’ve done a tattoo on your back, you’re most likely want to avoid exercises like squat, deadlift, bench presses, shoulder presses, or any movement that stretches the skin of your back.
On the other hand, if you’ve done it on your forearm, you can perform a deadlift the next day where the skin isn’t significantly used during this move.
So, you have to be flexible enough to choose exercises accordingly that don’t interrupt or sweat your tattooed skin too much.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I run after getting a tattoo on my leg?
Yes, you can go for a run after tattooing on your legs.
Generally, running is a safe form of cardio after a new tattoo, but make sure you’re wiping the sweat out by wearing moisture-wicking clothes or using a towel.
However, it would be better to wait for at least the first 24-48 hours after getting a tattoo on your leg so that your tattooed skin can get at least some time to heal.
Is it OK to work out before getting a tattoo?
Yes, it’s OK as long as you’re not doing intense resistance training in or near the area to be tattooed at least 1 to 2 days before your tattoo session.
The reason is that it may create unnecessary swelling and soreness and even can cause bleeding.
When you’re doing a workout session beforehand, make sure to keep your body hydrated, which will help you withstand a longer session and in healing.
How long after a tattoo can I shower?
Once your protective warp is off from your new tattoo, you can (and should) shower anywhere from 1 to 24 hours whenever you feel ready. It may also depend on the location and size of the ink.
However, you artist may suggest waiting about 24 hours before showering.
Remember, it’s best to listen to your artist as they will always know your tattoo better than anybody else and will advise the best possible aftercare routine for you.
Should I wrap my tattoo while working out?
Yes, you should.
Because your tattoo will most likely contact germs and bacteria in the gym equipment, causing infection and delayed recovery.
Before hitting the gym, make sure to keep your tattooed area covered with your clothing or warp some clothes.
You can also wipe and spray antibiotics to the gym equipment and accessories that you gonna use in order to keep possible bacterial infections at bay.
Can you work out after getting a tattoo with Saniderm?
For optimal healing and avoiding discomfort, it’s best (and recommended) not to work out with Saniderm.
After applying the first Saniderm bandage, you should leave it on your new tattoo for at least 8 to 24 hours.
Removing it earlier may cause irritation, inflammation, redness, bleeding, seeping, and ink collected under the bandage.
Also, excessive sweating can push ink out and collect under the Saniderm, resulting in bumpy skin, raised scarred tissue, color loss, and possible infection.
So, it’s best to give your skin adequate time to heal before resuming your workout routine.
Can I workout after getting a tattoo on my forearm?
You should wait for 48 hours after getting a tattoo on your forearm to minimize infections, pain, and fading and enhance healing.
It’s always recommended to wait to exercise for at least 2 days, and then you can start with light stuff (minimal sweating) for 2-4 weeks before switching to your hardcore sessions.
To sum it up, it depends where you’re getting tattooed and how your healing process goes. But in most cases, you can continue training after 48 hours with a little bit of modification.
However, giving your skin 4-6 weeks to heal is better before resuming your high-intensity sessions.
So that’s the end of your question: Can you workout after getting a tattoo?
Now, I’m curious to know in which area you’ve tattooed?
And, how was your experience while doing the tattoo?
Share your thought in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you!