While exercising can have a major impact on your appearance, most people forget that improving the way you look is 80% about diet. To lose fat, gain muscle, or "tone up", you must to eat correctly. This should be your first priority and your only priority for a period of time. After you have that sorted out, you can add exercise into your schedule.
Cardio is important to improve oxygen delivery to muscles and shed fat for a slimmer, toned look. I use the stationary bike for cardio. I hate the treadmill because it makes me dizzy after a while. The stationary bike works for me and the fact that I somewhat enjoy it makes it easier for me to stick with. My warm up lasts 10 min prior to my regualr workout and 15 min after. I pedal as hard as I can for one minute, then pedal a bit slower for another 1 or 2 minutes, then pedal hard for another minute etc.
Weight training. There's this misconception that if a woman lifts weights, she'll look more muscular and manly. Lifting weights WILL NOT make you masculine. We just don't have the same hormone balance like men. I have seen better and faster results getting toned up by lifting weights than with any other kinds of workouts such as pilates, zumba...etc. But to each his own.
I work out 4-5 times a week for about 1-1.30 hrs. It's usually two days then rest day, then twice again and rest on weekends. If I work out an extra day (5th time) then it's usually something that's not as intense such as yoga.
In each exercise I do 12 reps. My trainer told me that 10-12 reps in each exercise is best for me to get fit and give my muscles great definition.
Rest time: 30sec-1 min between each set/ 2-3 minutes between each exercise.
At the moment I work out my entire body every time (full body workout). I haven't separated leg days from abs and arms yet. I work out each body part for about 30 minutes then do the next. I start with legs then go to arms and last abs.
LEGS (3 sets 12 reps)
Exercises I do to work on my legs and butt: Leg Press, Glute Kickbacks with machine, Plyometric box workout, Leg Curl, Leg Stretch, Inner and Outer Thigh exercises, Squats, Multi Hip machine, Calf Press on Leg Press. Those are basically my leg and thigh exercises. I might have a couple more but I can't remember them.
ARMS (3 sets 12 reps)
Exercises I do for my upper body, arms: Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown, Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Seated Cable Rows, Side Lateral Raise, Chest fly Hand off, Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension, Standing Dumbbell Biceps.
ABS/ LOWER BODY / BACK ( 3 sets 20 reps and 30-40 seconds on Plank)
Stability Ball Crunches, Sit ups, Plank, Vertical Knee Raise on machine, Arm & Leg raise while lying on stomach,Superman.
After each exercise I make sure to do some stretches to reduce soreness of the muscles and do 10-15 min on the stationary bike again.