In recent months, being the best version of yourself has become the new achievement that people strive for. A huge part of that is inviting fitness to be a part of your life. With the ever-growing trends of going to the gym and becoming stronger, fitness pages have become all the rage. One of those pages is Dairy Girl Fitness, created by Emily Shaw.
Emily started her page in March of 2018 as an outlet for her to combine her two passions of dairy promotion and fitness. It makes sense that dairy promotion is one of her passions as it was such a huge part of her childhood. She tells me that she had multiple family members who had dairy farms and that she was a part of the FFA (Future Farmers of America), 4-H, and other youth dairy organizations, which sparked an interest and a passion for the dairy farmers, the cows, and the industry. She also grew up playing sports, which taught her the importance of maintaining her health and moving her body. After graduating from Penn State University in 2017 with a BS degree in Agribusiness Management and moving to Georgia, her dream was to find a job in dairy promotion, but unfortunately she had no luck due to the smaller dairy community. She tells me, “when I wasn’t able to find anything [related to dairy promotion], I felt frustrated, [but] instead of dwelling on that, I created my Dairy Girl Fitness Instagram page”. The page was her way of sharing her journey and combining her passions, but most importantly, a way to show that you do not need to remove animal products in order to be healthy and see progress.
She now has an impressive 23,000 dedicated followers on Instagram, and is one of the most successful “agvocating” fitness pages out there. She has changed the perspective of thousands of people in regards to animal products and is continuing to promote the positive side of the dairy industry. She hasn’t let the recognition change her though, she says. “[since I started my page] I’ve really tried to stay true to myself, as cheesy as that sounds. On social media, it can be very hard not to fall into the comparison trap, so really more than anything on my page, I’ve really tried to be consistent and be authentic”. She also tells me about the importance of sharing information in the right way. She finds that people don’t like to be preached to, which is why she tries to make content in a “fun and humorous way”, as well as doing it in a manner that will create space for conversation instead of confrontation. She feels a big responsibility with such a big audience, which is she makes sure to always “continue to educate myself and really make sure that the content that I am providing is educational, accurate, and science-based”. Her page is full of helpful information to help you make the most informed decisions about your diet, as well as inspirational posts to motivate you and goofy videos to keep you laughing for days.
As a promoter of animal products in fitness, I wondered if she found that there was a lot of stigma around them in her community. She told me, “I think people say that veganism and plant-based diets are growing, but in reality, there are so many people still consuming meat, eggs, and dairy products”. She tells me how she believes many people are trying out plant-based diets because of what they see on their social media or false information that they have been given, but she also sees “more professionals, more nutritionists, more dieticians step up and continue to spread the truth about animal ag products and the health benefits around them and their impacts on the environment”.
In her 3 years online, the community has seen a major shift. The fact that anyone can say almost anything they want on social media with little-to-no consequences has been harmful to the agriculture industry as false narratives have been spun, in regards to animal products specifically. Emily says, “In the future, [I hope to] see more and more people recognize that animal ag is not this evil monster”. People often lose sight of the fact that the industry is run by real people. “The farmers, the ranchers behind these animal ag products are people too. They live on this Earth, they have families, they have people to feed. Just as much as anyone else, they want nutritious products, healthy animals, and a world that’s going to be around for a really long time”.
She hopes in that in the future, more and more people will recognize farmers and be open to learning about where their food is coming from. “So many people are so disconnected from where their food is coming from”, she says, and that most don’t even recognize that there are people behind their food. She hopes that the world continues to evolve to a place where conversations about food are welcomed and that consumers connect with the farmers who are making their food. On a positive note, she mentions how since she started her page, she has seen many more farmers and ranchers start their own pages to educate people and to give a glimpse into the industry, and that that is a trend she hopes continues to grow.
Emily has been one of the most influential ag-promoting personal trainers in recent years, and she is nowhere near done. With her page growing everyday, she hopes to educate and inspire more people to take care of themselves and ultimately make the best choices for them. For the best fitness tips, food information, and all-around fun vibes, Dairy Girl Fitness is the way to go!