Some people are born warriors, apparently indestructible beings that confront life with a fortitude that just doesn’t seem to present itself in the rest of us. All we peons can do is gaze at these fearless champions with reverence and idolatry, then turn inward at ourselves in the hopes of acquiring a fraction of their strength. Fitness trainer Ilaria Montagnani is one of these people.
Directed by its subject, Stronger for Life documents the rise of Ilaria Montagnani in the fitness world and the shattering diagnosis that almost destroyed her. Several interviewees, including Ilaria’s mother, brother, doctors, and acquaintances, attest to Montagnani’s drive and tenacity. In addition, the woman herself is forthright about her life in fitness and emotionally candid when discussing her fight against cancer and subsequent mastectomy.
“…documents the rise of Ilaria Montagnani in the fitness world and the shattering diagnosis that almost destroyed her.”
Born and raised in Florence, Italy, young Ilaria Montagnani has an independent nature and a desire not to end up, as her brother articulates, “an Italian woman, sitting and preparing food for the family, and that’s it.” A passion for all things physical and the yearning to harness that energy prompted Montagnani to move to New York City at (barely) 19. Without much of a plan other than to survive, Montagnani discovered fitness via aerobics, and the rest is history.
Montagnani’s passion finally became a reality when she co-developed the popular Powerstrike Kickboxing fitness program and created other related methodologies that married martial arts with traditional calorie-burning programs like aerobics. Her profile and fitness programs swept the NYC fitness scene, and enthusiasts flocked to her classes. It’s no wonder that she would eventually become the “instructor with the largest class attendance worldwide.”
"…noble ambitions cannot shield a person from the curveballs life throws."