Vanguard Bodybuilding

Is the personal blog of Amateur Natural Bodybuilder Dean Lester. This is where Dean shares his struggles and joys of pursuing his dream of becoming the best bodybuilder he can be. Not everyone wants to get on stage and compete but hopefully by sharing his dream and passion of bodybuilding it might encourage others to be the best they can be and pursue their own fitness goals and dreams.


Email Dean at vanguard@vanguardbodybuilding.com


Dean Lester

Born in 1965, Dean currently lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his wife Chris and they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on July 22, 2014.  Dean and Chris are the proud parents of three children. Dean is currently employed as an IT Professional.  Dean enjoys helping people with their IT related issues and it’s this desire to help others that motivates him to run Vanguard Bodybuilding.

Dean spent his teen years growing up in Sundre, Alberta on a farm and learned to work hard and was always physically active.  He participated in sports in High School and later would race motocross around Alberta in his early 20’s as a member of the Alberta Motocross Association.

Dean moved to Calgary in 1988 and weighed 160 lbs and could eat anything and everything and never gain a pound. Dean decided to join a gym and in three months had increased his weight to 185 lbs with the dream of becoming a bodybuilder. His results at the time even had regulars at the gym asking if he was on something? At the time the only information Dean had were bodybuilding magazines which told him the only way to make gains long-term was to use supplements. Money was tight at the time and Dean could not afford the supplements he was told he needed. Being the type of person to give it 110% effort or not at all, Dean did not see the point of continuing so he stopped going to the gym and gave up on his dream for the time being.

Dean never lost the muscle he had put on and that first time and about 10 years later Dean joined a gym with the hopes of becoming a bodybuilder as he now could afford the supplements. Dean had the same results as the last time going from 185 lbs to 210 lbs in three months time but he quit again after reading that his physically demanding job, that he had at the time, would not allow him to properly recover. Dean’s two brief experiences and the response his body had to training made him feel it was something he could have done well at.

arnoldOne of the biggest reasons that motivated Dean to join a gym and start working out was seeing Arnold Schwarzeneggar in Conan the Barbarian.  Being 17 years old at the time the movie captured his imagination and inspired a love for barbarians and bodybuilding.  This led Dean to watch the movie Pumping Iron and buying Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.

In 1999 a new PC video game was launched called EverQuest and Dean was hooked by this new type of game especially since it allowed him to play as a barbarian warrior who he named Vanguard. This has become Dean’s online persona ever since.

In 2011, at the age of 46 and spending 10 years not doing any kind of physical activity, his daughter asked him to participate in the parent child dance that her dance studio was doing. It was seeing himself on video during the performance that made Dean realize how out of shape he had become.

This inspired him to go on a diet for the first time in his life and he lost 15 lbs but was still not happy with the results. He was just a slightly smaller out of shape guy. Determined to change this he started a bodyspace account on bodybuilding.com as Vanguard1965 and started working out. The results were dramatic, not only in the physical changes but also in how he felt. Dean jokes that he went from leveling a virtual barbarian warrior named Vanguard to leveling the real life version.

Body Space Profile

The old dream of one day competing as a bodybuilder kicked in and this time he could afford the supplements and had a non physical job. Dean went and watched his first natural bodybuilding competition in October 2011 and vowed to compete in the same show a year later. As an avid gamer Dean had run several fan sites for the games he played and it seemed logical to start a new one covering natural bodybuilding along with his own journey so in March 2012, Vanguard Bodybuilding was started.

In 2012 Dean competed in his first bodybuilding show placing second in both Men’s Novice Heavyweight and Men’s Masters. Dean’s results only encouraged him to continue his efforts.

Two years later Dean competed again in two different shows in Men’s Open Heavyweight class and again did well. The improvements from the first time Dean competed to the second time continued to reinforce that Dean has potential to do well in bodybuilding, especially when you consider he has only been training for three years.

Dean also managed to fulfill a dream in 2014 by doing his individual posing routine as a barbarian warrior as well as having a photo-shoot with Ron Sombilon paying tribute to Arnold and the movie Conan the Barbarian which inspired him so many years ago.

Barbarian Photo Shoot

Competition History

2014 – INBF Canada National Championships – Men’s Bodybuilding Open Heavyweight – 3rd
2014 – INBF Canada National Championships – Men’s Bodybuilding Masters – 2nd
2014 – NPAA Canada Classic – Men’s Bodybuilding Open Heavyweights – 4th
2012 – IDFA Western Canada Classic – Men’s Bodybuilding Novice Heavyweight – 2nd
2012 – IDFA Western Canada Classic – Men’s Bodybuilding Masters – 2nd

2012 Contest Season

2014 Contest Season

Dean continues to pursue his dream of being the best he can be at natural bodybuilding and is currently working with Alberto Nunez of 3D Muscle Journey with the goal of competing again in 2019.