This is so right on.
Thing is, we learn it from the time we're kids ("eat all your dinner, so you can grow up big and strong"). That implies that food is causal to growth, but that's a cause/effect reversal. Growth hormone causes us to grow and build more muscle. Eating more is an effect, in response to a higher baseline metabolism.
I like to use the analogy of a skyscraper. If the raw material caused the growth, then one presumes you could just pile up raw material and have a skyscraper. Instead, you need construction workers (analogous to GH), and the more of them and the more they work, the more raw material (food) you'll need.
Here's the thing: I made good but slow progress from last May '07 to the end of the year on a Paleo diet with twice weekly intense workouts, but I was only doing half upper body per session (30 minutes). Then at the first of the year I began the fasting, and that's when muscle growth and huge increases in strength began to really accelerate. Then I went to full body every time, and I concentrate on legs, chest, back and shoulders. Little else.
This stacks the deck in my favor for GH release:
- short, intense, big muscle workouts.
- 10-12 hour deep sleeps a couple of times per week.
My personal trainer jokes with me: "dude, you're getting huge. You must be eating, like, 8 meals a day."
"No; 10. I set the alarm twice in the middle of the night for meals — just like a growing infant," I joke back.
Now go read Brad Pilon's post.