Can You Go to the Gym Before a Tattoo? Pro Artist Advice

If you have decided to get your first tattoo, you might be worried about a lot of things. As a fitness enthusiast, you’ll surely be concerned whether you can hit the gym before joining the tattoo community or not. So, can you go to the gym before a tattoo?

Yes, you can go to the gym before getting a tattoo. Most reputable tattoo artists suggest going to the gym before getting a tattoo as you have to avoid exercising after the tattoo. However, it is advised to avoid any strenuous exercises and sore your muscles before a tattoo as it will increase pain during the process.

Here we will discuss when and why should go to the gym or avoid it in regards to getting a new tattoo. We will also share some tips so that you can set up a proper training plan. Let’s dive right in.

Is It Okay to Workout Before a Tattoo Placement?

A gym enthusiast, RJ Smith, says, “Yes, getting a tattoo before going to the gym is fine. Just don’t go to your artist stinking and sweaty – that would be rude.”

It’s totally okay to go to the gym before getting tattooed. Most tattoo artists suggest doing your workouts beforehand as you’ll have to wait for 48 hours to a week after your tattoo session. However, you should avoid strenuous exercise before a tattoo session as a fresh tattoo should be made on a clean, sweat-free area.

Also, you should avoid workout sessions with heavy gym gear because they often contain harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. 

This might lead to infection afterward since your tattooed region is an extremely vulnerable and fresh wound. Keep in mind that you should not over-exercise before a tattoo as it might double the pain during the process.

Why You Should Avoid Heavy Exercises Before Getting a Tattoo?

If you’re getting tattoos for the first time, you have to avoid doing a lot of things including a heavy workout. Here are a few reasons why you should avoid strenuous activities before a tattoo –

To Keep Your Skin Cool

It’s always important to keep your skin cool before tattoo sessions. People refrain from going to the beach to avoid intense sunlight. Similarly, you should avoid outdoor exercises that cause your skin to heat, burn, and tan.

Otherwise, your skin will sweat a lot, become dry, and get burned, which might cause the tattoo to mess up badly. Your tattoo artist will suggest avoiding sun exposure even after getting the tattoo.

To Remain Hydrated

A tattoo expert, Heather Luthy-Vogt, says, “The best things to do to prepare for a tattoo, whether it’s your first or your hundredth, are to make sure to eat something and make sure you’re hydrated.”

You have to make sure that you’re hydrated before having a tattoo, as it will ensure smooth tattooing and benefit the healing process. Also, proper hydration will make your skin resilient enough to endure the pressure of the needles. Heavy leg workouts and weightlifting can make you dehydrated.

So, try to avoid this kind of workout to make the healing time shorter. You can also rub some moisture lotion in the tattoo-covered area for the best results.

To Avoid Muscle Fatigue

There is no doubt that getting tattoos is a painful experience. Hence, most artists suggest that you should be relaxed before the long sessions. If you exercise hard and make your arm and legs tired, your muscles will become sore and cause swelling.

It will make the tattooing job harder for the artist, and the process will be more painful for your body. So, an expert will recommend you to do light workouts only and to avoid stretching, weight lifting, cycling, and other tiring exercises.

When Can You Start Going to the Gym Again After Getting a Tattoo?

After having a new tattoo, you need to follow a strict aftercare regimen and give your body some rest before hitting the gym again. It’s better if you start working out when the ink is set and the tattoo wound is fully healed.

However, it’s perfectly fine to start going to the gym in the first week. Expert artists recommend waiting for 2 to 14 days to let the tattoo wound heal. If you notice any sign of infection or swelling, you need to stop working out immediately.

Here are some tips you can follow when you go to the gym after getting inked-

  • Go for loose or baggy clothing as tight clothes will rub against the tattooed area, causing the ink to mess up.
  • Clean your tattoo properly before and after working out, and apply some moisturizer to the area.
  • If you use any gym equipment, use a strong sanitizer to disinfect it before using it. This way, you can avoid tattoo infections.
  • Start with light exercises and stretching because working out hard will increase your blood pressure and cause excessive bleeding in the tattoo area.
  • Do not wash the tattooed area for at least 2 weeks. Also, avoid swimming and other water activities for 4 to 6 weeks after getting the tattoo