A great deal is known about the evolutionary significance of body size and development time. They are determined by the nonlinear interaction of three physiological traits: two hormonal events and growth rate (GR). In this study we investigate how the genetic architecture of the underlying three physiological traits affects the simultaneous response to selection on the two life-history traits in the hawkmoth Manduca sexta. The genetic architecture suggests that when the two life-history traits are both selected in the same direction (to increase or decrease) the response to selection is primarily determined by the hormonal mechanism. When the life-history traits are selected in opposite directions (one to increase and one to decrease) the response to selection is primarily determined by factors that affect the GR. To determine how the physiological traits affect the response to selection of the life-history traits, we simulated the predicted response to 10 generations of selection. A total of 83% of our predictions were supported by the simulation. The main components of this physiological framework also exist in unicellular organisms, vertebrates, and plants and can thus provide a robust framework for understanding how underlying physiology can determine the simultaneous evolution of life-history traits.