Can I Go to the Gym with a New Tattoo? What You Need to Know

Getting a new tattoo can be an exciting experience, but it’s essential to take care of it properly to ensure proper healing. One question that often comes up after getting inked is, “Can I go to the gym with a new tattoo?”.

The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about working out with a new tattoo, including tips on protecting your fresh ink while still hitting the gym.

Understanding the Healing Process

The healing process for a new tattoo can take up to four weeks, depending on the size and placement of the tattoo. During this time, your skin is vulnerable and sensitive, making it more susceptible to damage and infection. It’s crucial to keep your new tattoo clean and protected during the healing process.

Can I Go to the Gym with a New Tattoo?
Can I Go to the Gym with a New Tattoo?
  • Use an anti-bacterial soap to wash the tattoo several times a day.
  • Avoid soaking your new tattoo in water, such as swimming or taking long baths.
  • Keep the tattoo covered with a bandage for the first few days, and apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment to keep it moisturized.

Potential Risks of Working Out with a New Tattoo

While working out with a new tattoo may not cause any direct harm, there are a few potential risks to be aware of:

  • Friction and pressure on the tattoo can cause irritation, scabbing, or even partial removal of the ink.
  • Sweat and bacteria from gym equipment can increase the risk of infection in a new tattoo.
  • Excessive sweating can cause the ink to bleed, leading to a distorted tattoo design.

Timing Your Return to the Gym

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to when you can return to the gym after getting a tattoo, it’s typically recommended that you refrain from any physical activity for at least 24 hours. After that, you can gradually return to your regular workout routine, starting with lower-intensity exercises.

  • Avoid exercises that cause a lot of rubbing or pressure on the affected area, such as weightlifting or cycling.
  • Stick to exercises that don’t put pressure on the tattoo, such as yoga or light cardio, during the healing process.
  • Wait until the tattoo is fully healed before returning to intense workouts or swimming.

Protecting Your Tattoo While at the Gym

If you’re determined to hit the gym during the healing process, there are a few things you can do to protect your new tattoo:

  • Cover the tattoo with a clean, breathable bandage while working out.
  • Wear loose and comfortable workout clothes to avoid rubbing against the tattoo.
  • Bring your own clean equipment or use a towel to cover public gym equipment.
  • Avoid touching the tattoo or letting others touch it.

Keep the Tattoo Moisturized

Moisturizing your new tattoo is crucial to aid with the healing process and to ensure the longevity of the ink. However, it is essential to use a moisturizer that is safe for tattoos and does not contain any harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin.

  • Use a tattoo-specific moisturizer or non-fragranced lotion.
  • Apply a thin layer of moisturizer several times a day.
  • Avoid over-moisturizing the tattoo, which can cause damage to the skin.

Signs of Infection

While working out with a new tattoo can be safe with proper precautions and care, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs of infection. If you notice any symptoms of infection, such as redness, swelling, discharge, or a fever, contact your tattoo artist or a healthcare provider immediately.

  • Keep the tattoo clean and dry.
  • Avoid scratching or picking at the tattoo.
  • Follow any advice or instructions given to you by the tattoo artist or healthcare provider.


Getting a new tattoo is an exciting experience, but it’s crucial to take proper care of it to ensure proper healing and longevity. While working out with a new tattoo can be safe with proper precautions and care, it’s essential to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your tattoo while hitting the gym. By following the tips above, you can safely return to your workout routine without compromising the quality of your new ink. Remember to give your tattoo the time and care it needs to fully heal before resuming any intense physical activities.

FAQs – Can I Go to the Gym with a New Tattoo?

1. How long should I wait before going to the gym after getting a new tattoo?

It’s generally recommended to wait at least 48 hours before engaging in any strenuous physical activity or going to the gym. This allows your new tattoo to begin the healing process and helps prevent irritation, infection, or damage to the fresh ink.

2. Can I workout with a new tattoo if I cover it up?

While covering your new tattoo with a clean, breathable bandage may protect it from direct contact with gym equipment, it’s still best to avoid working out for at least 48 hours. Sweat and friction can still cause irritation and potentially prolong the healing process.

3. What precautions should I take if I decide to go to the gym with a new tattoo?

If you absolutely must go to the gym with a new tattoo, make sure to:

  • Cover the tattoo with a clean, breathable bandage
  • Avoid exercises that directly impact or stretch the tattooed area
  • Clean the tattoo immediately after your workout with mild soap and water
  • Pat the area dry and apply a thin layer of aftercare ointment

4. Can sweating at the gym affect my new tattoo’s healing process?

Yes, excessive sweating can negatively impact the healing process of your new tattoo. Sweat contains bacteria and salt, which can potentially cause irritation or infection. It’s essential to keep the tattoo clean and dry as much as possible during the initial healing stages.

5. When can I resume my normal workout routine after getting a new tattoo?

Once your tattoo has begun to heal and is no longer in the “open wound” stage, you can gradually return to your regular workout routine. This usually takes around 7-10 days, but healing times vary depending on the individual and the tattoo’s size and location. Always consult with your tattoo artist for personalized advice on when it’s safe to return to the gym.

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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