Body Oxygen Level Test (BOLT)


Your BOLT score tells you:

  • if your breathing is optimal or dysfunctional
  • your current CO2 tolerance
  • your energy levels
  • your oxygen extraction and utilization efficiency


  1. Take a normal breath in through your nose and allow a normal breath out through your nose.
  2. Hold your nose with your fingers to prevent air from entering your lungs.
  3. Time the number of seconds until you feel the first definite desire to breathe, or the first stresses of your body urging you to breathe.
  4. These sensations may include the need to swallow or a constriction of the airways.
  5. You may also feel the first involuntary contractions of your breathing muscles in your abdomen or throat as the body gives the message to resume breathing.
  6. Release your nose, stop the timer, and breathe in through your nose. Your inhalation at the end of the breath hold should be calm.
  7. Resume normal breathing. Now, importantly, this is not a maximal breath-hold. You're going to hold until your first urge to breathe (the sensations that you might feel as far as that first urge to breathe may include the need to swallow or a constriction feeling in the airways or involuntary contractions of the breathing muscles or diaphragm or in your throat). If you have to gasp for air after you do this breath-hold, you held too long. The number of seconds you were able to hold your breath comfortably is your bolt score.


Anything below 25 seconds is an indicator of dysfunctional breathing. More specifically:

  • Below 10 = Severe fatigue
  • 10-15 = Strong Fatigue
  • 15-25 = moderate fatigue
  • 25-40 = light fatigue
  • Above 40 = healthy energy levels


It is best to track your progress first thing in the morning, and then write down your progress every day. To get most out of your BOLT score you should write down the following:

  • your current BOLT score
  • your mood
  • your energy levels
  • your stress/anxiety ÔÇĘÔÇĘHere is more information on the Bohr effect, very good stuff to know for training your CO2 threshold! The Bohr Effect


Credit for BOLT chart information to Ari Whitten


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