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Meet the NWF Family

We’re not just personal trainers, we’re a tight-knit family of real people that care about your success.

Mike Walsh Personal Trainer

Mike Walsh

Mike Walsh is founder and head coach at Northwest Forge. He’s been training people from all walks of life since 2005.

  • USMC Veteran

  • Over 14 years of experience in personal training

  • Specializing in strength training, tactical training, older generations, injury rehabilitation, and emergency medical responders

He loves reading, lifting heavy, and helping athletes from all walks of life see success. Learn more.


Amy Dale

Amy is an accomplished rock climber, alpine climber, and indoor soccer athlete.  She enjoys lifting heavy, running, and testing her limits. She has two dogs named Zumie and Finley.

  • Alpine and rock climber

  • Rock climbing instructor

  • Soccer athlete

  • Learning under head coach, Mike Walsh


Karen Litrakis

Karen is an experienced personal trainer with over 30 years experience. A real powerhouse, Karen knows personal training, gymnastics, and tumbling better than most in the state of Oregon.

  • Gymnastics coach since 1982.

  • Individual and group fitness instructor since 1993.

  • Gymnastics and cheer choreography since 1988.

  • Experience spanning multiple disciplines across decades.

  • Current CPT through NASM.

She loves hiking, photography, cooking and baking, gardening, and reading.  She loves spending time with her family: husband Sean, 16 year old daughter, and fur babies Niko and Rogue.


What We Do



Northwest Forge Personal Training is a personal training studio in Salem Oregon that focuses on the individual success of each and every client.  A stark contrast from big box gyms, we hone in on what makes each client tick.  We don't just create programs, we create a path to success that works for the individual.


What to Expect

  • Personal approach to your success.

  • Custom planning and vision for you.

  • Positive, calm, and motivating environment.

  • Measurable results

  • Reinforcing positive habits, not punishing the negative ones.

  • Resource for all questions fitness and nutrition. We tell you what, how, and why.

  • Empowering behaviors. We give you the tools to succeed without us.

  • Complete accountability (even when it's not fun)

  • Help out charities by training and fundraisers.

  • Training with the body instead of against it.

  • A full on approach to fitness that encompasses stress levels, triggers, habits, and strengths.

  • Hard work, sweat, and no excuses.

  • Combine technology and sweat to get the best use of your time and money.

  • "Homework." You'll have homework between sessions.


Why Northwest Forge?

Best Personal Training in Salem Oregon

Premium Training

Our training is premium at heart.  We spare no expense at giving you the best personal training.  Discover why Northwest Forge is quickly becoming the best personal training in Salem Oregon.

Personal Training in Salem Oregon with best programs

Proven Programs

Our programs are bullet proof.  We've spent years perfecting them.  And they're only getting better.

Personal Training Software in Salem to help you

New Technology

Get your own profile with our state-of-the-art software and download the NWF app.

Personal Training Improve Performance

Increase Performance

No matter what your goals are, we'll increase your everyday performance in life: focus, energy, and true strength.

Personal Training get your voice heard

Be Heard

Get your voice heard in the continual development of NWF.  From equipment to everyday training, you have a say.

Personal Training get answers to all questions

Get Feedback

Get honest feedback about all your questions.  No sales pitches, no gimmicks.  We take the time to address every. single. question.  Because we care.


Iron Hammer Award


The Iron Hammer Award is given to those who are ruthless in their quest to accomplish their goals.  They rise to the challenge with a smile, and enjoy the process to becoming leaner, stronger, and healthier.  Most of all, they have big hearts and give back by helping others succeed in turn.  They are the ultimate bad-asses.



Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the benefit of working with a personal trainer?

A: Here's 5 of the top reasons:

  1. Accountability

  2. Motivation and encouragement

  3. Supervision for new exercises (safety)

  4. Save time and money in the long run by providing a training and nutrition program that gets you to your goals quickly and efficiently.

  5. Injury Rehabilitation

The main thing is: the likelihood of success skyrockets when you have a personal trainer.  

Q: What if I'm too out of shape for personal training?

A: Nobody is ever too out of shape for personal training! 

The only things you need to start are:

  • A heartbeat

  • A positive attitude

  • A desire to improve your health

The worst thing you can do is wait to start.  "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is now."  We don't care if you're younger, older, big, small, short, tall, or purple.  

Q: How many times per week should I train with a personal trainer?

A: If you're new to physical exercise, I recommend seeing a personal trainer 2 times per week at least.  That can be raised or lowered depending on goals, how hard you're willing to work, finances, and time.  I generally recommend no more than 4 per week and no less than once per week.

Some people are surprised at their positive results when only personal training one time per week.  

Q: I am a little apprehensive about personal training.  What is a typical session like?

A: A typical personal training session begins with warming up for at least 5 minutes.  During this time we talk about how the week is going, and what is going right, specifically.  We talk about any other concerns there might be at that time. 

Then we get into the meaty portion of the personal training where we focus on following the set training plan that I made specifically for working towards goals.  If someone wants to lose belly fat, then we work on that (usually in the form of high intensity full body movement).  If someone wants to get stronger, we work on that (usually in the form of resistance training with compound movements).    Each plan is made specifically per person, so there are no two alike.

After that, we cool down, stretch, and I answer any questions there may be about nutrition, the homework, or scheduling.  Simple!

NOTE:  Every athlete is different.  I find what makes each individual click and go from there.  So no two sessions are alike from athlete to athlete.  Your experience not be the same as everyone else's.   What will be the same is: the goal oriented approach.  

Q: What should I eat before a workout?  What about after?

A: This is more of an in depth question.  Here's a couple rules to follow:

  1. Never train on an empty stomach

  2. Eat for your goals. Generally, have some type of carb, and some type of protein in your system before and after training. Healthy weight loss is NOT brought about by starving, so don't try it. (especially around intense training sessions!)

  3. Stay hydrated. This doesn't mean drinking alcohol the night before and then having a glass of water the next day immediately before training. Your body hydrates over the course of 24 hours. So drink water continuously.

  4. Don't over-complicate it! Track your food using any method you wish (we like MyFitnessPal) to make sure that you aren't eating more calories than you burn in a day. This is the key to losing excess bodyfat over the long term.

Q: Why can't I just do cardio?

A: Cardio is one aspect of fitness, and it's a great tool for moving you forward to your goals.  But just like a master carpenter, you need more than one tool, and you need to use them all to make a masterpiece.  You wouldn't use a file to make a cut, would you?  It's just inefficient.  The same applies to cardio.  Only doing lots of cardio to lose bodyfat is going to take longer and cost you more energy than if you combined a little bit of resistance training, a little bit of aerobic exercise, and a pretty good nutrition plan.  

You can just do cardio, but it's not an ideal use of your time or energy.

Q: How quickly will I see results of my training?

I have a problem with this question. 

Look at the body as an equation.  Where you are right now is a result of the choices you have made, the food you have eaten (or not eaten), your excellent lifestyle choices (you see where this is going), and your genetics.  

Genetics are responsible for some of that, but that's not something we can change, so let's not waste our time discussing genetics and how much they determine our fitness.  (there's a Star Trek episode in there somewhere)

Back to the equation:

If we alter ourselves (the equation) by making significant lifestyle, nutrition, and training changes, then results can happen in as little as 2-4 weeks.  That's not working 8 hours a day, or going out on dates on the weekend, or having a few drinks every Friday and Saturday.  That's training every morning, eating boring food every day, and training again every evening. 

That's not sustainable.

Instead of asking ourselves how quickly we can see results, let's change it.  Let's ask ourselves "how quickly can I see results using a system that I enjoy and that I can sustain for years and years?" 

If you can eat nothing but vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, minimal nuts and fruit, and train 12 times per week, then the answer is 2-4 weeks. 

If you train hard with the time you have in your schedule, do your best with nutrition even though pizza and wine love you as much as you love it, and do what your trainer tells you, then you can expect to see results in about 12 weeks.

If you just want a result but hate the work to get there, the answer is never. 

Ask a question:


I’ve been training at Northwest Forge for a little over a month now and have noticed a considerable change in my overall physical performance. As a volunteer firefighter the most physically demanding thing we do is fight structure fires. Before I started training with Mike, fighting a structure fire took a lot out of me and it was very difficult for me to keep up with a crew or work hard through the entire call. This last weekend I responded to a fire and was absolutely amazed at the amount of energy and endurance I’ve gained in just one month. I was able to hit the ground running and still felt like I had a little fuel left in the tank when we were done and back at the station. I can’t wait to see how things progress in the coming months and year!
— Ryan

It makes me very happy to recommend Mike Walsh as a personal trainer. I have been a client of Mike’s for over two years.

In the beginning, I had a training partner and Mike trained us together. Because of time constraints and other commitments, my trainer partner had to quit, but I continued on because I enjoyed it so much.

Initially, Mike was working at a training facility, which closed. With advance notice of the closure, knowing training was his passion, he procured his own facility. Northwest Forge was born.

Mike has a true passion for fitness and he genuinely wants his clients to succeed. In addition to being fully educated in training plans and practices, he encourages and helps with good nutrition.

My workout routines are always planned and varied. As I’ve gotten stronger, my weights have become heavier and cardio more intense. Mike’s training style is pretty relaxed, but I definitely get my money’s worth for the half-hour i’m training with him.

Mike is also very contentious about how you’re feeling, if you have any aches or pains when lifting, and insists on proper form. Always. If a lift hurts, he has alternate exercises or can modify what you’re doing, resulting in no pain. I know, because I have a bad knee and he has worked diligently to find exercises I can do that won’t aggravate it.

Mike’s skills are top-notch and his personality is fun and relaxed. He’s developed Northwest Forge in to a great gym with all of the equipment you need for an excellent workout. Again, it’s been almost two years of training for me and I don’t plan on quitting anytime soon.
— Julie

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