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If there’s anything we learned from The Jersey Shore, it’s that gym, tan, laundry is a way of life. How do they do it around their tattoo appointments? And why is it so important? Well, you don’t want to ruin your new tattoo, and you definitely will if you don’t follow your artist’s aftercare instructions. This includes no: pools, excessive sun and swapping sweat germs at the gym. 

This article isn’t just for the meatheads. When dealing with hot wax, glitter, and tight corsets, planning and healing a tattoo requires some adjustments for burlesque dancers. Accommodating your workouts around your new tattoo is just as important for those with a tiny piece, as well as the fully covered.

The First Two Weeks

As you are to treat your fresh tattoo like an open wound, artists suggest you refrain from working out for the first 2 weeks of healing. And no, taking off from your sweaty gym sessions for a couple weeks won’t kill you. A staph infection can. Your body will be activating its immune system response, thus why your skin might be red and warm after going under the needle. Just ask an INKED staff member about how their 15th tattoo from a tattooer they’d been going to for years got infected and landed them in the ER. All from the way they healed this piece.

Healing Guide

Accommodating your workout routine around your ink is particularly necessary in the summer. Ditching the indoor treadmill for Mother Nature’s breeze is more tempting in the warmer months, but as you cannot put sunscreen on during the healing process, you have to cover up your tattoo, and do your best to avoid exposure to direct sunlight. Plus, refreshing in the sauna – or god forbid the pool – is a huge fucking NO. The chemicals and bacteria in open water can lead to infections, and even death.

(For INKED’s full guide to healing your tattoo, along with helpful progress pictures, click here. Plus, check out some hacks for faster healing.)


Getting Back To The Gym

While your tattooed area won’t be sore by the two-weeks waiting time, in the beginning, avoiding working out the muscles under your tattoo is a safe rule of thumb.

While hand-poked tattoos might heal faster than a machine-job, friction is the worst nightmare for a tattoo that dreamed of lasting forever. Yes, this includes any contact sports where your tattoo may be scratched, bumped or grabbed.

Treadmills are safest, working up to machines, weights and all that jazz. Be sure to SUPER wash your hands, and really get those germs off your tattoo post-workout. Then, of course, pat dry and moisturize the beautiful son-of-a-gun.

Interestingly, studies show tattoos may change the way you sweat.

Wear The Right Fucking Thing

When you do head to the bacteria/fungi hub that is the gym, covering your tattoo with a light-weight long sleeved shirt or long shorts is important. Getting “breathable” leggings is a must to keep you cool, and not constrict your skin around a freshly-healing piece.

Still think you’re too good for taking aftercare seriously? Peep the worst tattoo infections that will make your skin crawl.