Stretch marks appear when the skin rapidly expands due to sudden gain of muscle or fat. The skin is usually not able to handle the expansion and tears tiny bits.
When these tiny little tears heal, they turn into stretch marks. There are conflicting views as to how stretch marks should be seen in the bodybuilding world.
Some people hate them and find them ugly. Others see stretch marks as milestones to their bodybuilding journey and love them adorn the body.
Regardless, in this piece we will be looking at 7 ways to prevent stretch marks altogether.
Let’s get right into it.
7 Ways To Prevent Stretch Marks From Working Out
Once we understand the underlying cause of stretch marks, we can find many different ways of preventing stretch marks. We take a look at some of them here:
#1 – Try Collagen Supplements
Collagen is a special type of structural protein. It is responsible for many structural functions in the body. It is also responsible for helping the skin stretch extra when it needs to.
Collagen is kind of central to the problem of stretch marks. This is because stretch marks are formed when the skin lacks collagen.
Because collagen provides elasticity to the skin, a lack thereof causes the skin to tear causing stretch marks.
If you are aware that you’re about to see rapid muscle gain in whatever areas of the body, it is best to start including collagen supplements in your diet. The body already synthesizes collagen from dietary sources, extra collagen from the supplement will make sure your skin is ready to take on the sudden muscle gain.
#2 – Stay Hydrated
This is one of the simplest ways to prevent stretch marks. Although it is not a direct way to prevent them, it is still a pretty good precautionary measure.
The water we drink keeps our body hydrated. When our body is properly hydrated, the skin becomes amply supple and soft. At the same time it has also been noticed that it becomes more stretchy than regular.
When you’re dehydrated, the skin has less fluid to work with. That means stretching it can lead to those stretch marks incredibly quickly.
The best periods to stay hydrated are immediately before and after the workouts.
If you regularly stay hydrated by having enough water, you significantly cut down the chances of getting stretch marks.
Remember that for this exercise you have to take in some extra water than just regular hydration since making the skin softer requires extra levels of hydration for sustained periods of time.
#3 – Stretch Before Workouts
Let us quickly remind ourselves of how stretch marks form. You gain fat or muscle suddenly, which causes your skin to stretch more than usual, which causes the skin to incur tiny tears, and when these tears heal, they form stretch marks.
So you see the problem lies where your skin is not able to handle the extra stretching that it is required to do. But what if you stretched before workouts? If you make it a regular habit to stretch and warm up properly before each down, you cut down the possibility of stretch marks by a large percentage.
Stretching not only helps with preventing stretch marks, but has other benefits as well. It helps in opening up extra spaces for your muscles to grow which helps your muscles when they are growing faster than usual.
#4 – Warm Up Before Workouts
We just talked about stretching before workouts. The same point goes for warm-ups before workouts. Many people do not warm up their body properly and regret it later on.
Warming up readies your body for the actual workout. In our case, it readies your skin for the actual workout. During a warm-up session, the skin stretches and bends in different ways. This readies the skin and practically loosens it.
A loosened skin means it is not going to require stretching a lot when new muscle is put on because the skin will already have enough room to hold it all together.
#5 – Slow Weight Gain
We know most of you bodybuilders out there don’t like this one, but it is one of the ways to prevent stretch marks.
Remember how stretch marks appear? A rapid gain of muscle or fat. What do we do to counter that then? Well, we do the exact opposite. We gain weight slowly.
This one needs much more planning and sustained efforts but it is one of the most effective ways of 100% avoiding stretch marks.
Typically, you see most people in the fitness world doing this. Most people that are just trying to get ‘toned’ or be ‘attractive’ will be limiting their muscle gain every month to minimize any fat gain. In the same process, they are limiting muscle growth- but also limiting stretch marks.
However, if you’re serious about building muscle or putting on size- oftentimes you want to put on as much as you possibly can. But, if you’re not so worried about putting on as much muscle as possible, you might want to look into just limiting your muscle gain a bit.
It’s actually simple, you just eat a little less. You’d aim for 1-2 pounds of weight gain a month instead of the usual 2-4+. You still gain muscle, just slower- and you gain less fat in the process. So, it’s not always a bad idea.
#6 – Improve your diet
We don’t mean including more proteins or carbs to your diet. Instead, try including more fruits and other natural options. Grapefruit, plums and walnuts are especially good for your skin so try to include them.
At the same time green tea has been proven to be very good for the skin. Consider taking green tea sips when relaxing or on weekends. (Although, I might be biased as I LOVE tea)
Other foods like salmon, turkey, and tuna are also considered great for the skin. Consider including them for even healthier skin and also to avoid stretch marks.
#7 – Take Care Of Your Skin
Last but not the least, take care of your skin! Basic moisturization, collagen supplements, sunscreens and lotions go a long way into keeping your skin and shining. R
emember stretch marks show an underlying scarcity of protein (collagen). Keeping your skin healthy and taking care will naturally keep the stretch marks away.
Stretch marks may be like marks of heroism or like marks of ugliness for some people. Regardless, none of those conundrums appear if you prevent them from appearing in the first place.
We all know how difficult it is to get rid of stretch marks once they appear. In fact, most science has said it’s impossible to get rid of them- even if that’s somewhat debatable. That is why we listed out ways to prevent them altogether.
If you haven’t already got them, keeping the above points in mind will reduce the chance of stretch marks forming. At the end of the day, prevention is better than cure.
Although keep in mind- it’s impossible to avoid stretch marks. And a lot of us will get it as we age. Don’t think of them as ugly or anything, most people don’t even notice them and it’s a natural part of our lives.