Should You Tan Before or After a Workout?

Working out and getting a tan are two popular ways that many people aim to look and feel their best. However, some debate arises around when you should schedule your tanning and gym sessions. Should you head to the tanning salon before or after your workout? Or does the order not really matter?

Both sides have some good points to consider. Here, we’ll break down the potential benefits and drawbacks of tanning before versus after your workout. We’ll also provide tips on how to stay safe and healthy while doing both.

Tanning Before Your Workout

Some people prefer to get their tan first before they break a sweat with exercise. Here are some of the main benefits of tanning before your workout:

  • Warming Up Your Muscles – The heat and UV rays from tanning beds can help relax your muscles and increase blood flow. This serves as a type of warm-up to prep your muscles for exercise. The increased circulation may reduce injury risk.
  • Mental Prep for Exercise – Some find that tanning gives them time to mentally prepare for their upcoming workout. Laying in the tanning bed allows you to visualize your workout plan.
  • Energy Boost – The Vitamin D absorbed from UV rays may give you an energizing lift before your gym session. This can aid workout performance.

However, tanning first also comes with some potential drawbacks:

  • Feeling Drained – On the flip side, tanning can be relaxing and make some people feel more tired before a workout. The UV exposure may zap energy needed for exercise.
  • Safety of Tanning Lotions – You’ll need to thoroughly rinse off any tanning lotions before exercising to avoid skin irritation when you sweat. Tanning lotions can burn if they get in your eyes.
  • Time Management – Showering after both activities may be needed, which adds time. Scheduling tanning right before the gym may create time crunches.

Overall, tanning before a workout has its merits, but also some cautions. You’ll want to see how your own body responds. Pay attention to your energy levels at the gym after tanning.

Tan Before or After a Workout

Tanning After Your Workout

Alternatively, many people favor getting their sweat on first and tanning afterward. Here are some of the advantages of tanning post-workout:

  • Better UV Absorption – With pores open from sweating and blood circulation increased, your skin can potentially absorb more UV rays. This leads to faster, darker tan results.
  • Soothing Tired Muscles – The warmth of the tanning bed can feel therapeutic on your muscles after strenuous exercise. It’s a comforting way to wind down.
  • Cooling Your Core – The tanning bed’s heat can help lower your core body temperature after intense activity.

Just like tanning before, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Discomfort – It may be unpleasant to lounge in a tanning bed drenched in sweat after your workout. The additional heat could feel overwhelming.
  • Tan Irregularities – Sweat and grime on the skin can potentially cause uneven tanning results. It’s best to shower first.
  • Fatigue – You may already feel worn out after your workout. The extra time tanning could make you more tired.

Tanning after exercise has its own set of pros and cons. Pay attention to how your mind and body handle it post-gym.

Staying Hydrated is Critical

No matter when you choose to tan and work out, hydration is key. Here are some crucial tips:

  • Drink Water Before, During and After – Have water before, during and after both your tanning and workout sessions. Dehydration is dangerous.
  • Watch for Signs of Dehydration – Headaches, nausea, cramps, or intense thirst are red flags. Dizziness and fatigue are also symptoms.
  • Avoid Alcohol or Caffeine – These drinks increase dehydration. Stick to plain water before and after tanning and exercise.
  • Carry a Water Bottle – Keep water handy during your workout and tanning bed time. Drinking frequently prevents dehydration.

Don’t take hydration lightly. Dehydration impairs exercise ability and mental function. Stay vigilant getting enough fluids.

Protect Your Skin

While chasing a tan, don’t forget to care for your skin:

  • Use Sunscreen – Apply sunscreen before tanning and reapply after. Seek shade when possible. This prevents UV damage.
  • Moisturize – Keep skin hydrated with a daily moisturizing lotion to replenish moisture lost tanning.
  • Limit Exposure – Know your skin type and limit tanning time accordingly. Gradually build up exposure.
  • Inspect Skin – Check skin head to toe each month for unusual moles or spots that could signal skin cancer. See a dermatologist annually.
  • Wear Protective Gear – Work out with UV protection like hats, sunglasses and light, breathable fabrics.

Be vigilant about sun safety. Don’t compromise your skin health solely for an attractive tan. Take precautions.

The Benefits of Tanning and Working Out

When done safely and in moderation, tanning and working out can have complementary benefits:

  • Muscle Definition – A tan emphasizes muscular definition achieved through strength training and cardio exercise.
  • Healthy Heart – Regular workouts reduce heart disease risk by strengthening your cardiovascular system.
  • Stress Relief – The relaxation and Vitamin D from tanning paired with exercise endorphins promotes mental health.
  • Toned Physique – Building muscle via resistance training while dropping excess fat with cardio creates a toned “beach body.”
  • Mood Boost – Breaking a sweat triggers feel-good endorphins. UV rays also boost mood. Together they relieve stress and anxiety.

Tanning and exercise support one another in enhancing both physical fitness and mental well-being. They are healthy complements in moderation.


Whether to tan before or after your workout comes down to personal factors. Pay attention to your energy levels, muscle soreness and recovery time when scheduling sessions. Allow time for showering to maximize the benefits of each activity.

Above all, remember to stay hydrated and implement sun-safe habits like sunscreen and protective clothing. Monitor your skin and limit UV exposure based on your skin type.

Consistency with both working out and tanning is key – the order matters far less than making each a regular habit. With some trial and error, you’ll find your perfect routine to achieve defined muscles and a healthy, sun-kissed glow.

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