Monday, July 5, 2010

New tattoos and exercising

One of the questions I am often asked is, "How long should I wait to work out?" Typically, most exercise enthusiasts think they are going to have to forego their training for several days or maybe even a week! "Nnnoooooo!" they immediately think. Anything but that! Well my fellow weight lifting friends; fear not! You need not lose precious Globo Gym time due to your ink addiction!
Remember; there are some things you should be aware of and observe however. Here are a no particular order and without regard for importance:
If you have a gym in your home feel free to work out anytime you wish after getting your tattoo. Take care doing any exercise that may place your new tattoo in contact with any abrasive surfaces. Word of warning: any surface that your fresh tattoo may rub against IS abrasive! Don't do it! In other words; if you have a new tattoo on your back you may not want to do the bench press for about a week. Back squats? Go right ahead. What's the difference? As long as the bar (when doing back squats) isn't touching your tattoo it can't abrade it. The bench when doing bench press may cause your tattoo to be squished and rubbed against the bench. This movement can cause the tattoo to bleed resulting in scabs and future loss of ink.
Well, what about movement? Can't that also cause your tattoo to ooze, weep or bleed? The answer is yes, it can. The difference here is that movement may squeeze some plasma out but it generally doesn't open the wound like sandpaper causing more damage to the skin (other than what the tattooists needles have already done)! Inner elbows and various creases of the body that are tattooed are exceptions to this rule; movement in these areas will likely cause the tattoo to weep excessively, dry, and crack open causing this cycle to repeat and therefore causing loss of ink.
This leads us to our next question: What if I don't have a gym in my home? What if I have to go to my local globo gym?
My first answer to that is, "I'm sorry."
My second is this; you may want to wait for two or more days before you work out again. Why? You want to give your skin time to pull itself together and stop weeping. Your body will be pushing blood through your newly opened skin and slowly trying to repair itself. Soon, the skin will pull itself together and blood cells will no longer be able to pass through the injured skin; but plasma will! And you will "weep" plasma for several hours after your tattoo is finished; sometimes it will continue overnight. So, what's the number one reason for not going to the globo gym for a day or two? Simple, people don't want to see you oozing pinkish/clear plasma down your arm or through your shirt at the gym! O00; that's gross!
Now for my word of warning about working out at your local gym directly after getting a fresh tattoo. Beware of the fungi and funk that people leave behind! Now, I know that we are all very careful and we wipe down the equipment we use with bleachy water and towels...don't we? Are you sure? What about Joe Blow who used that tricep arm/pull down thingy thirty minutes ago? Did he? What about Jane Ringworm who used that big ball sit up thingamadodger an hour ago?
That's right folks; not everyone is as careful as you are. Beware.
Now, as long as your tattoo doesn't come in contact with any of the equipment at the should be fine. Just be sure to wash your hands after you work out and before you apply any ointment to your tattoo.
Alright, let's recap. Working out will not hurt your tattoo as long as your new tattoo is not located on a part of your body that bends alot (inner and outer elbow or knee for example). Scraping your new tattoo between your body and a shirt and bench or other piece of equipment will damage your tattoo. Next, beware of funky equipment. Lastly, don't subject other people to your body fluids! If you are going to work out with a new tattoo please wait long enough for your skin to pull itself together and stop leaking!
My last piece of advice; stop working out at Globo Gyms! Find yourself a qualified CrossFit affiliate and get down to some real fun!
Peace Out!


  1. i like what you added to the end ;) was reading this cause a wod today has kb snatches and was unsure of the kb hitting my arm at the top or the snatch movement would be bad. i might take it easy and see how i go

    1. KB snatches in mine today as well, might just use a DB to avoid the contact. I've waited 1,5 weeks though.

  2. Thanks for this just started the bottom half of my full sleeve, wasnt sure about the elbow area and excessive movement...and we are going to do Fran today, so i guess ill stay out of the box for a day or so more

  3. What about if you get a tattoo around your foot area? What's the wait time for a crossfit workout?

  4. My concern is sweating, your not suppose to do anything that makes you sweat