Getting a new tattoo is an exciting experience and offers a great way of expressing yourself.
However, two questions that often come up regarding new tattoos is whether you can work out after getting one and how long you should wait, if at all. Making matters worse, there is an abundance of contradicting information online that can easily confuse you.
The answers to these questions ultimately depend on your tattoo situation and the recommendations of your artist. You should follow their instructions precisely to avoid getting a skin infection from your tattoo and ensuring that it comes out properly.
That said, it is usually safe to work out with a new tattoo as long as you take several precautions. You must consider how working out and the gym environment will affect your tattoo.
To simplify this, we’ll give you some crucial tips for working out with a fresh tattoo below.
How to Cover Up a New Tattoo
The first thing you should be doing is covering up your tattoo.
As you likely know, gyms aren’t necessarily the cleanest environments. Dozens of other people are sweating and breathing hard in an enclosed area, which is bound to make it unhygienic.
Between sweat, dirt, dust, spit, blood, food, and everything that goes on in the locker room, it’s easy to see how many germs are in plain sight around the gym. That’s a new tattoo’s worst nightmare because it’s an open wound, making it prone to infection.
With this in mind, an effective tool for preventing infection is creating a physical barrier between your tattoo and the gym. You can do this by wearing long sleeves or long pants.
This ensures that you don’t accidentally directly touch a piece of gym equipment with your new tattoo. During a set, you might be so focused that you don’t pay attention to what’s touching your fresh ink.
One thing to keep in mind is that you should avoid tight-fitting clothes. Look for long sleeves that leave some room so that your shirt isn’t squeezing your tattoo.
Avoid Contact – Take Care of New Tattoo
Next, you’ll want to make a point of avoiding any contact with your tattoo.
Covering up is an important first step, but you also want to avoid any contact even with a layer of clothing. There are two important reasons for this; you don’t know how protective your clothing is and you don’t want to injure your tattoo.
If you assume that a layer of clothing gives you an impenetrable defense, then you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Long sleeves are backup protection in case other methods fail.
In this case, the main method should be ensuring that nothing touches your new tattoo. This means that you shouldn’t brush up against equipment or do anything that makes you touch a piece of the gym.
You might have to move a little awkwardly, but it’s worth it to ensure that you don’t get an infection. It will take just a few weeks before you’re able to move without worries, so take extra caution now to preserve your art forever.
Focus Other Muscles – Gym Care with New Tattoo
You should also consider focusing on other muscle groups, at least for the first day or two.
This is a particularly effective way of ensuring that you don’t touch your tattoo on gym equipment. If you’re working out the same muscle group that you just got inked, then you’re going to encounter two issues.
First, you’re stressing a muscle that’s already aggravated. Tattoos scar your skin and greatly strain the surrounding area. This means that a fresh bicep tattoo will make you sore as you’re trying to do an arm workout.
The other problem is that you likely won’t be able to avoid contact with gym equipment if you’re working out a similar body part. For example, a calf tattoo will make something like a sitting leg curl machine near impossible to use.
Imagine that the area you got inked already went through a grueling workout and opt to go for a different body part instead. If you got upper body work done, then focus on lower body exercises and vice versa.
Cleaning a New Tattoo
Finally, you must make sure to carefully clean your tattoo immediately after finishing your workout.
We mentioned above that the gym is quite dirty and taking extra precautions won’t ensure that your tattoo is kept clean. More importantly, you also sweat during your workout and this must be quickly wiped off of your tattoo.
After working out at the gym, you probably take a shower or wash your hands at the very least. This is because you understand how filthy gyms can be.
Taking this into consideration, why wouldn’t you want to keep your tattoo clean as well? You already have a cleaning routine that likely includes several light rinses per day with antibacterial soap, so post-workout creates a perfect opportunity for another washing.
Be sure to avoid soaking your tattoo and ensure that you’re gentle. Remember to never pick at scabs and give your tattoo all the time it needs to heal!
Working out with a fresh tattoo is a challenge, but it’s certainly doable if you’re careful. Be sure to follow the instructions of your tattoo artist as they’ll understand what’s best for you and your situation.
If you do plan to hit the gym, then you’ll want to be extra safe to prevent a skin infection. A few tips to help you do this include covering up with long clothing, avoiding direct contact with your tattoo, working out other muscles, and promptly cleaning your ink after your workout.
Your tattoo is a wonderful piece of artwork and it will last you a lifetime. Don’t make a foolish mistake by rushing into the gym and ruining your ink. Take your time and play it safe to preserve your fresh tattoo!