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The holidays are a stressful time, especially for those who are trying to stick to a strict diet or fitness routine. (SoulCycle)

Tips for staying fit & sane over the holidays from SoulCycle's Sunny Mae

The holidays are a stressful time, especially for those who are trying to stick to a strict diet or fitness routine.

Family, friends, food, parties all get thrown into the mix and before you know it you've eaten a whole box of cookies, your three drinks in and you haven't been to the gym in a week. Don't let this be you!

SoulCycle instructor, Sunny Mae lives and breathes fitness -- teaching about 13-16 classes a week at SoulCycle and in her free time hitting up the yoga studio or doing a cross training workout.

She knows what it's like to balance life and fitness, "I try to keep as much balance in my routine as possible. I love being outside this time of year. Walk the extra few blocks instead of ubering, take the stairs instead of the escalator, park farther back in the parking lot. Small changes make big differences. These things will make it easier to get back into that healthy routine after the holidays," said Sunny. "I'm never too hard on myself, and I allow myself to enjoy this time of year. It only comes around once!"

Sunny shared some of her tips and tricks on staying healthy and sane over the holidays... Or if you fall off the health wagon, getting back on after the holidays:

What is your best advice for someone who is trying to jump-start a new fitness routine in the new year?

Be patient with yourself. Nothing worth having happens overnight. Set reasonable, attainable goals. No goal is too small. Pick one thing you want to work on, and let the rest evolve from there. One step (pedal stroke) at a time.

What is your best advice for someone who is trying to eat healthy during the holidays?

Don't put too many restrictions on yourself. Life is too short, and the holidays are some of the best of the year. Allow yourself to eat what you like. One or two days of indulgence is not going to make or break you. One tip for not overeating is drink lots of water. If you are drinking enough water, you will have less room to overeat...and you'll feel better the next day!

Best advice for managing stress over the holiday season?

Make sure you're taking time for yourself. Even if it's only a few minutes. Step away from the madness to give yourself a moment to breathe. Maybe that's leaving the house to go for a drive or walk; listening to music, or taking 45 minutes to come to SoulCycle. We do so much for others and forget to take care of ourselves. Take time for you too!

What would you recommend for someone who is looking to work on their fitness routine, but just doesn’t have the time/money to go to SoulCycle multiple times a week?

Start slow. There's no need to dive right in. Go once. See how you feel. At the end of the day, we all have the same 24 hours. It's how you choose to use them that makes a difference. If you're super busy, set aside 45 minutes one time during the week. Then maybe the following week you can find two times to do something for yourself. You have to make yourself a priority. It's not selfish. It's a must!

Favorite go-to snacks?

Bananas with almond butter. Pretty much anything I can put almond butter on. It's filling. It's full of protein, and it keeps you sustained for a workout or until you eat your next meal.

Favorite easy healthy meal?

Stuffed avocados. I slice an avocado in half and remove the pit. Then I'll fill the space where the pit was with some kind of protein. I love to use crab (so fancy, I know). I'll toss some lump crabmeat with diced peppers, onions, tomatoes, and a fresh herb...usually dill, and a little bit of mayo or mustard. You can use whatever you'd like...chicken, shrimp, tofu or just veggies. It's delicious and so easy.

Anything else you would like to add?

Never underestimate the power of investing in yourself. No step is too small, and no time is better than right now. Just do it. One step, one pedal stroke at a time.

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