Use total body workouts or upper/lower splits. There is no reason to use a traditional bodybuilding split where you work different muscle groups on different days. Total body workouts or upper/lower splits are the only splits you will ever need. They allow you to work your muscle groups more frequently and they are more practical. If you use total body workouts, you should train three days per week on non-consecutive days. If you use upper/lower splits, you can train three or four days per week.
Use big, compound movements. The majority of your exercises should be movements that require a lot of muscle mass. Some examples include squats, deadlifts, lunges, push-ups, overhead presses, dumbbell and barbell presses, rows with dumbbells and cable machines, chin-ups, dips, planks, and all their variations. These are the exercises that will help you build a lean, sexy body that can actually function in the real work. In fact, these are the only exercises you will ever need to build the body you desire.
Going with number two, do not use machines. Just stay away from them. You will build a better body (aesthetically and functionally) doing bodyweight exercises or using dumbbells and barbells. Also, machines force you to use a fixed path, and your body does not operate that way. Machines can actually be harmful if they force you in a path your body wouldn’t normally travel. Also, they don’t force you to use your stabilizers; this makes the movement easier.
Lift heavy. Too many women are afraid to pick up anything other than a pink dumbbell because they’re afraid they’ll get big and bulky. Look, it won’t happen. It has never happened to any women I have ever training, and it won’t happen to you. You should lift in the higher rep range (10-15 reps) but you should also lift heavy (5-8 rep range). Trust me, this will do nothing but improve your aesthetic appearance and confidence.
Lay off the long, slow cardio. Long, slow cardio will not help you develop a lean, sexy look. The only thing long, slow cardio will do is give you a “skinny fat” appearance. Don’t believe me? Take a look at most marathon runners.