All about that Pride body: A painstakingly detailed guide to what it takes to look your best

Brian Fleming (middle, left) and friends at Aqua, during Pride Week 2014

I’ve been getting text messages from everyone saying “there are super hot guys at the gym now!” It’s because everyone’s gearing up for Pride. My trainer, Zyad, has a lot of clients right now who came to him asking for the “Pride body.”

To get ready for Toronto’s Pride Week, I’m mostly eating a high-protein, low-carb, low-fat, low-sodium diet, and drinking more water. No garbage food or candy. (I’m already planning what I want to eat the day after Pride. Probably doughnuts and pizza.) There’s also a party where you’re in a bathing suit called Aqua. Often that’s the party that people get ready for. It’s on the Saturday, so some people will skip the Thursday or Friday night parties so they can get up early and go to the gym for a quick workout before. On Saturday morning, I’ll probably eat steak and eggs for breakfast and then go to the gym. Being shirtless, you might feel self-conscious, but my attitude is to give in, stop thinking about it. Parties are just a fun part of Pride, but they’re not the most important message.

Yesterday I went for a spray tan at The Spa at Four Seasons. There were three options: Ecuador, Hawaii or Barcelona. I went with Ecuador because it’s the lightest. Any grooming spots on Church Street are impossible to get into now. There’s a place called Ho’s Team, where you can go to get the trendiest haircut. There’s also The Men’s Room Shop. The owner used to be a party promoter and he’s turned that into a store where he now sells clothing and Pride tickets, and he opened a grooming bar there. ManCave Barbers Lounge is a good one, too—they do manicures, pedicures, beard trims. Some people have certain looks they want to achieve at Pride: I’ve done clean-shaven before; another year I had a mustache just for Pride; for this one, I’m going to have a beard. I use Tom Ford Conditioning Beard Oil. I haven’t done my manicure and pedicure yet. I have to do it before Saturday though, because I’ll be wearing sandals at the Aqua party. I’m not getting a facial or doing anything special with my skin. My diet has really improved my complexion. I just use Biotherm Aquasource—it’s a gel moisturizer. You can’t bring a lot of stuff with you to the parties, so you just spray sunscreen with an SPF 50 beforehand. And I wear a hat.

Everyone buys new clothes. And I bought a new bathing suit. You’re also cleaning your house, stocking your bar, making sure that you have healthy food to serve if people come over. So fruit and nuts—no chips.

I’ve been training with my boyfriend. As a couple you also want to look good because you’re representing Toronto, you’re ambassadors. You’re trying to sell Toronto to people, so they come back. We want them to know this is a safe place to visit and is a great place for Pride. Everyone who’s going has such an amazing energy; everyone is so positive and happy to be there. People come from all over the world, and you hear the most incredible stories. My ex-boyfriend moved here from the Middle East and he had never seen anything like this—it was a dream come true for him. When I went with him to his first Pride, he was like a little kid at Christmas every single day. He was so happy; he’d never been so accepted and he never thought that would ever happen—that he could walk down the street holding his boyfriend’s hand. —As told to Sarah Daniel