Body-building site: Shi the laborer swings to China online fame

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Construction worker turns his site into a gym
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Construction worker turns his site into a gym
Worker Shi Shenwei covers his hands with magnesium at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei pushes a wheelbarrow at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei yawns after waking up in a colleague's room in an old farm house in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. Shi had to vacate his room after heavy rain leaked through the roof and wet his mattress. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Worker Shi Shenwei demonstrates his training routine on the roof of an old farm house in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei uses his phone at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei (L) and a colleague fill a wheelbarrow with bricks at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei (R) pulls a wheelbarrow at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei stands in the shell of a Buddhist temple where he works in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei lifts himself up at a scaffolding during work at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei hands a bucket of cement to a colleague in the shell of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei pulls a wheelbarrow at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Mobile phones are piled up at a construction site to be used to record a high bar routine of worker Shi Shenwei in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Raindrops run down the back of worker Shi Shenwei as he works at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei performs a high bar routine on a scaffolding at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Worker Shi Shenwei sets up his phones to record a high bar routine at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei performs a high bar routine on a scaffolding as his cousin films, at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei performs a high bar routine on a scaffolding at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei (R) and his grandmother prepare breakfast in the kitchen of an old farm house that serves as dormitory for workers of a nearby construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Fitness trainer Bi Zhenbo looks at a video of a high bar routine by Shi Shenwei at a gym in Beijing, China, October 5, 2016. âI think this person gives a lot of inspiration to us. And I think heâs really amazing. He inspires more and more young people to do what they like, like working out. I think heâs doing something very meaningful,â Bi said about Shi Shenwei. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei brushes his teeth in the yard of an old farm house that serves as dormitory for workers of a nearby construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei (L) uses his phone in a colleague's room in an old farm house in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. Shi had to vacate his room after heavy rain leaked through the roof and wet his mattress. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei edits a video of his workout routine on his phone in an old farm house that serves as dormitory for workers of a nearby construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei (2nd L) and his colleagues and family members eat dinner in the yard of an old farm house in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei uses his phone at the construction site of a Buddhist temple where he works in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Sweat runs down the temple of Shi Shenwei as he works at the construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei (L) listens to his uncle and foreman Shi Lijia in an old farm house that serves as dormitory for workers of a nearby construction site of a Buddhist temple in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Worker Shi Shenwei stands outside his room in an old farm house that serves as dormitory for workers of a nearby construction site of a Buddhist temple after a day's work in the village of Huangshan, near Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter SEARCH "BRICK CARRIER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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BEIJING, Oct 11 (Reuters) - On most construction sites, lunch would be a welcome break to rest and refuel. Not for Shi Shenwei.

The 23-year-old laborer spends his midday break swinging from scaffolding poles on a building site, a gymnastics routine that has made him China's latest social media sensation.

"While other people are eating and singing karaoke, I'm whole-heartedly focused on what I want to do," Shi told Reuters inside the dusty temple where he works in southern Fujian province.

Shi's videos - filmed from multiple angles with four smart phones operated by his cousin - are posted on Kuaishou, a mobile video app in China. His nearly 1.2 million followers know him as "Brick Carrier Little Wei."

"You are no longer a master, you are a god!" one fan wrote after watching a high-bar routine which ended with Shi hanging by his arms in the plank position.

"You are my role model," gushed another online fan.

After leaving school due to an addiction to online games, Shi joined his uncle's construction crew. He was a skinny kid and the work was hard.

"I was very feeble back then, too weak to tie up a chicken," he said, using a Chinese phrase for a weakling.

One day, Shi watched an online video promoting street workouts, a type of free body weight exercise that can be done anywhere. He was hooked.

"I found another self through body-building, a source of energy that came from within," he said. "Online gaming could never give me that."

His first video post in 2015 - a handstand push up - attracted 7,000 followers.

"I was so excited that I thought I must keep practicing," he said.

His trademark combination of flips, jumps and gymnastic stands are all self-taught, he said, and mostly imitations of videos he has seen online.

Shi's bemused co-workers, most of them relatives from his hometown, wonder where he gets the energy during a 10-hour work day.

"Most people would be tired and go home and sleep, but he's at it every day, around noon or at night after work when everyone else is eating, he's playing around at the site," said Shi Dachen, a 52-year-old bricklayer.

His fame has led to appearances on Chinese talent shows, talk of a possible part in a movie and support from gymnasts and exercise enthusiasts across the country.

"He's a real inspiration for us and he inspires more and more young people to do what they like, like working out," said Bi Zhenbo, a Beijing-based personal trainer. "I think he's doing something very meaningful."

Shi hopes to open his own gym one day and help young people avoid the problems he faced in his youth.

"They should strive for what they are interested in and should not give up easily," he said. "This is what I want to convey through my videos - a positive mind that enjoys life."

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