There’s little that looks better (in our opinion, we suppose) than great tattoos on healthy skin on toned muscles. If you’re reading this, you probably think the same, which is why you’re amped about getting into the gym after getting a new tattoo so that you can continue with your regime. However, like with any physically activity, you need to step back and access what’s best for your body art investment. Should you wait a week or two or more to allow yourself to fully heal? Are there other considerations and longer term implications at play? That’s what we’re here to answer for you.
4 Things You Need to Know Before Hitting the Gym After Getting a Tattoo
1. How Soon is Too Soon?
Wait at least 48 hours before partaking in any strenuous activity that has you sweating profusely, especially high-octane cardio and weight lifting. The pulling of skin as muscles expand and contract together with excessive sweat entering the area of your fresh tattoo can prove challenging to the healing process. Plus, your local gym is far from the most sanitary place in the city. Whether you’re at big bucks EQUINOX or a low budget condo complex set-up, bench and barbell alike are havens for bacteria no matter how much sanitizer you douse them in.
2. Placement Matters
You will want to exercise commonsense in our post-tattoo exercise regime when it comes to tattoo placement and the types of workouts you intend on doing for any given muscle group. For instance, if you just received a large back piece, keep away from the laying bench press for at least two weeks, or longer if there remains to be any signs of slow healing or discomfort. Instead, try different exercises for the same body part so that there is no pressure contact between your skin and the bench, wall, or apparatus.
Also take note of how your skin moves as you expand and contract your muscles. If there is significant pulling, limit the stress. For example, if you received a tattoo on your right bicep, do come intense curls on your opposing (left) bicep to see how the skin stretches. If significant, you know that you should take it easy for a few days before taxing the area that is now host to new ink. “Push” type exercises have less of an impact than pull, but in the end it depends on your body, the elasticity of your skin, and how extreme the range of motion is for an exercise.
3. How It Ties Into Your Fitness Nutrition
One great side effect (for your healing tattoo) of being a fitness buff is the likely chance that your pantry is chock full of nutritious foods and natural health supplements that contain the proteins, carbohydrates, good fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your new tattoo needs to heal at an optimal rate. The latter (antioxidants) is especially relevant, as they directly support wound healing. Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that helps speed up the healing process as it protects cells from damage by free radicals and as an ascorbic acid is instrumental for the synthesis of collagen, something that is very good for your skin.
4. Muscle Gain Effect on Tattoos
So you now understand the care you should take when it comes to hitting the gym within a few days or short weeks after getting a tattoo. However, it’s worth touching on the impact of large to extreme muscle growth over a short period of time and how it may possibly impact the look of your tattoo.
For those most part, you have little to no cause for concern if you are making moderate gains over a reasonable amount of time. But when gains occur over a short window, and/or are very extreme, then there may be stretching (and stretch marks) and some distortion of fine lines where applicable. Again, timeline is the key. While we’re not going to lecture you about what to do (or not to do) when it comes to your physical fitness, we can say that if you make gains too quickly (read: unnaturally) there may indeed be an impact on the aesthetic health of your body art. It’s your call, we’re just letting you know.
If you have any additional questions about what you can and can’t do after getting a tattoo you can contact us anytime, or simply schedule your appointment and your artist will fill you in on everything you need to know about the aftercare for your unique piece.