Love + Work :: Trey Hardee and Chelsea Johnson

By Lauren Smith Ford
Trey Hardee & Chelsea Johnson | Photography by Buff Strickland for Camille Styles

The life of a professional athlete isn’t an easy one. Decathlete (and London 2012 Olympic silver medalist) Trey Hardee spends between 25 and 40 hours a week training in one of the 10 intense track and field events that make up the competition to be the “World’s Greatest Athlete.” And, Trey says he couldn’t do it all without the support of his fiancé Chelsea Johnson. Chelsea, an accomplished athlete/world champion pole vaulter in her own right, met Trey 10 years ago and the perfect match of a pair is getting married this fall. How has their relationship worked so well for over a decade? Chelsea says it best: “We have a tremendous amount of respect for each other.” We spent the day with the happy couple who shared favorite recipes, workout tips and their wedding plans that may or may not involve a queso fountain!

*photography by buff strickland

Every Sunday, the couple walks over to Lady Bird Lake in the center of Austin for a 4-mile stroll with their two dogs. “We met when we were 20 years old and knew nothing about who we were and what we wanted,” Chelsea remembers. “The one thing we know is that there was an undeniable chemistry that no matter how hard we tried to disregard, we kept coming back to.”

Chelsea works out four mornings a week and usually enjoys this green smoothie post-exercise. It’s loaded with protein and because she’s not a big fan of greens in the morning, this is how she gets her fix. She shares her typical week of exercise and says that working out in the morning is one of the keys to staying on track:

Monday AM: Running workout (hills or sprints on the track)
Tuesday AM: Olympic lifts paired with body weight exercises
Tuesday PM: Recreational Soccer
Wednesday: Day off
Thursday AM: Olympic lifts paired with body weight exercises
Friday AM: Long run (40 minutes followed by 15-20 minutes of stretching)
Saturday: Flag Football
Sunday: 4-mile walk with our dogs

One of the couple’s pups gets a bite in the kitchen of the home they recently purchased together in Austin’s Travis Heights neighborhood. Chelsea’s nutrition philosophy comes from the everything in moderation camp. “I eat chocolate and gluten (gasp!) every day. If I eat pizza for dinner on Tuesday night, I will try and eat a little less cheese on Wednesday,” she says. “There are not foods at that are “off limits” to me. If I feel like having a milkshake for lunch, I will go get one. Because I am this way, I rarely have an entire day/week/month/season where I binge eat.”

Chelsea makes the smoothie in her trusty Vitamix with ice, water, almond milk, a scoop of organic coconut oil, a scoop of Walnut Almond Cashew Triology Butter, a scoop of Hemp Force Chocomaca, 1 ripe banana and 1 bunch of kale.

Chelsea is the director of development for The Flatwater Foundation, an Austin-based nonprofit organization that provides access to mental health services for families and individuals affected by cancer. This is extremely personal work for her, as both her and Trey’s families have been hit by the disease. “I have seen (and felt) the hard toll that cancer can take on an entire family, not just the individual effected,” she says. “At the Foundation, we work to alleviate some of the stress, heartache and disappointment that cancer can cause by providing access to mental health services (specifically psychological counseling and equine assisted therapy.”

The couple picked up a pair of Tahoe Zephyr boards from Austin Paddle Sports. When Trey’s training schedule is more flexible in the fall, they venture out on the boards together 3-4 times a month.

Trey calls himself Chelsea’s number one fan. “I was initially impressed by her athletic accomplishments, but the more we got to know each other, I began to learn what a strong, competitive, compassionate, loving, quick-witted, hysterical and considerate woman she was and is,” he says. “She is my home base and when it comes to training, my rock. She knows the ins and outs of professional track life and knows how I feel sometimes before I even do. She has become an integral part of my success the last few years to the point that I literally fall apart if she has to leave town for work for a few days!”


Why she loves him: 

Trey is the most well-rounded person I know. He is a tremendous athlete, he plays music (piano and guitar), he speaks German, he can build things with his hands…and on top of all that he is funny, humble, incredibly smart and loving.

Chelsea & Trey’s Favorite Ground Turkey & Quinoa: 

1 Bag of Trader Joe’s Quinoa Duo with Vegetable Melange
1 lb of ground turkey
1 1/2 cup of broccoli
1 sweet onion
Himalayan salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne powder
2 tablespoons of ghee

-Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee. Cook ground turkey. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
-Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee. Add onions. Cook for 4 minutes on medium-high. Add quinoa, broccoli and cayenne pepper. Cover
-Cook 7-10 minutes stirring occasionally.

On precious nights off the couple keeps it low key by catching a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse or having friends over for an evening of BBQ’ing and backyard games like washers or corn hole.




The next adventure for this sweet, sporty couple is their wedding day on September 13th at Pecan Springs Ranch. The Texas chic affair will feature a color palette of blush, light greens and browns. Trey’s only request besides Lone Star brews and Rudy’s BBQ? A queso fountain. Chelsea’s thoughts on the idea—”A fountain of cheese! I am still working on this.”