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Every man who hits the gym would have heard the buzz words “Bear Mode” and “Lean Mode”. These two modes are two different approaches that one can take in their body building pursuits.  

If you cannot decide which approach you should take, you'll want to read this article. We will go over the pros and cons of each type so you can decide for yourself which one is best. 

What is "Bear Mode" 

strong man

Bear mode is an approach to training where you want to maximize your muscularity and strength. You train with a single purpose of looking bigger, muscular and jacked-up in clothes. You target specific muscle groups like the neck, traps, lats and forearms to make you look bigger and give you a strong, powerful look.  

Pros and Cons of "Bear Mode"  

man deadlifting in the gym

You Will be Stronger 

Training for bear mode gives you the advantage of being in a caloric surplus and eating more. This is beneficial because it gives you the leverage to lift more in the gym and get stronger on your lifts. It also helps to enhance your recovery in the gym as you get to eat more carbohydrates to fuel your workouts.  

You Will Look Bigger 

This is the best part about training for bear mode because you look bigger and impressive in clothes. This is because you carry a lot of muscle mass and being on a caloric surplus diet increases the glycogen levels inside your muscles, giving them a much fuller look.  

No Cravings Issues 

If you have a large appetite and can't control your cravings at times, it becomes quite challenging to maintain a lower body fat percentage. But training for a bear mode gives you the freedom of eating at a caloric surplus diet, and you don't have to worry about hunger and craving anymore. Saying that, you still have to maintain an overall clean diet to effectively chase your bear mode physique without getting way too fat. 

Can’t Flaunt Chiseled Abs 

With the bear mode physique, you will be carrying somewhere between 15-20% body fat. This implies that you won't be able to flaunt a chiseled 6 pack when you take your shirt comes off. Instead, your physique will be a bit softer looking in general. 

You May Look Smaller Shirtless 

We know this sounds ironic because the whole point of going bear mode is to look bigger and build more muscles. But carrying a higher body fat percentage overshadows your gains when you are shirtless. A much smaller guy having a low body fat percentage looks bigger because of the illusion that muscle separation and vascularity creates. 

What is "Lean Mode" 

lean physique

Training for lean mode implies maintaining a lower body fat of somewhere between 10 to 12%Lean Mode gives you a lean and aesthetic look, and you will look great shirtless!

Pros and Cons of "Lean Mode" 

man showing abs

Better Proportional Physique 

Having a smaller waist enhances the symmetry of your physique by making your shoulders look broader. You get to have that V-tapered and an overall proportional physique. 

Muscle Definition and Separation 

Having a lower body fat percentage gives your muscle a well-defined look, and you will have six-pack abs. Of course, the amazing perk of being lean is that you look considerably muscular and ripped when shirtless. 

You Will Lose Strength 

Getting down to 10% body fat means eating in a caloric deficit, which means your glycogen levels are depleted most of the time, and you won't lift heavy in the gym. This will lead to a decrease in strength, and you will also lose some muscle mass along the way.  

You Will Look Smaller in Clothes 

Getting lean and ripped comes with the price of sacrificing your size and overall muscle mass. So, you will have to bear the remarks like 'Do you even lift bro?' from time to time. But if you don't care about the size that much, it shouldn't that big a deal. 

Dieting Throughout the Year 

Maintaining low body fat percentage year-round takes incredible discipline and consistency. You will be on a deficit diet year-round and will have to let go of your favourite food most of the time. Your social life can suffer because of your diet, and you may not be able enjoy going out for dinner with your friends. 

Which is Better? 

OK, so now that you know the pros and cons of the "Bear Mode" and "Lean Mode", 

The question is which is BETTER? 

Well, we can say that neither is superior. 

If your main goal is to be as strong as possible or to look good in clothes, you have your legitimate reasons to maintain a higher body fat percentage and go "Bear Mode". Unfortunately, many individuals have a misconception about the bear mode physique, believing that you must "dirty bulk" and gain a lot of fat. This, however, is not the case. You must still maintain a lean physique and follow strict macronutrient recommendations. The only difference is that you're staying in the higher end of the healthy body fat range, which is 15 to 20%.

On the other hand, a Lean Mode physique is needed when you intend to compete in bodybuilding shows or just want to look good on the beach or at the pool. So, if you want to look good with your short off, Lean Mode it is!!

The bottom line is that as long as you stay in the 10-20% body fat range, the look you choose is a matter of personal preference.

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